CHANDIGARH: In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, around 3,000 criminals lodged in different jails of Punjab for petty offences such as fights, snatching, thefts might get parole to make prisons de-congested.
Sources said that the Punjab prisons department is contemplating to lift the ban on regular parole to criminals who are behind bars for petty offences. "The department has identified around 3,000 of such inmates who can be given parole but it is for the courts to decide. No hardcore criminal will be given parole," said Additional DGP (Prisons), Punjab, Parveen Kumar Sinha.
As a precautionary measure, now a ban has been imposed on visitors to meet inmates in all the prisons.
The state government was also mulling giving bail to those convicted for minor offences and parole to those who had spent considerable time in jail, said Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. The final decision would, however, depend on the courts and the state Advocate General Atul Nanda was taking up the matter with the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, he added.
Meanwhile, masks and sanitizers are being manufactured by the inmates in different jails for themselves and staffs as it will be mandatory for each of them to have two masks. "While the sanitizers are being manufactured at the Gurdaspur Jail and the cloth masks are being made at Ludhiana, Amritsar, Ropar, Bathinda, Kapurthala and Faridkot Jails. They will be used in house as each prisoner will have two masks one he wears and other to keep with him or her and uses after washing the other one,’’ said Sinha.
A total of 19 prisons in the state including nine central jails with a total capacity of 24,000 is full. "If these prisoners are given parole then the jails will decongest and so there will be some safe distance between the prisoners. As a convict can get parole up to sixteen weeks in a year depending on his conduct other than convicts under heinous crimes murder, rape and the NDPS Act,’’ said an official.