THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a significant move that could provide relief to about 100 senior citizens who are languishing in jails, the Prisons Department has proposed to the state government to release all of them on 45-day parole in the wake of Covid-19 spread. The proposal states that all prisoners above 60 should be allowed to go on parole irrespective of the nature of the crimes they had committed as well as the duration of the sentence. If the proposal is accepted by the government, it will pave way for the conditional release of 100 prisoners, including 13 women.
The proposal was given on the basis of medical reports that suggested senior citizens were more vulnerable to the pandemic. Prisons Department sources said the proposal was made on humanitarian and medical grounds. “Keeping senior citizens in prisons could be risky if there is a spread of the disease among the inmates and guards. In several countries badly affected by the pandemic, hundreds of prisoners and guards were infected. As a precaution, we have suggested parole for them for 45 days,” said sources. A senior official in the department told TNIE that several dozens of inmates will benefit if the proposal gets a green signal from the government. “We are expecting a decision from the government soon,” the officer added.
Meanwhile, the government will have to take a call on the prisoners, who are already out on parole, as to when they’ve to be called back. The inmates, who had been granted parole prior to the lockdown, were given an extension till April 15. As many as 105 inmates have availed this benefit. As there is uncertainty over when the lockdown will end, the government will have to decide whether to extend the parole period or not, prison sources said. “So far we have not got any order from the government regarding the extension of parole period. There is still confusion as to what will happen if the lockdown is not lifted by April 14. The sooner the government issues an order, the better it will be,” said a senior prisons official.