CHENNAI: COVID-19 has also adversely affected prison inmates all around, as jails could be a potential infection hotspots. Bridging the gap between the inmates and their families, central prisons across the State have been provided with smartphones. According to official sources, around 40,000 video calls were made by inmates in the past one month.
Director-General of Police (Prisons) Sunil Kumar Singh said, “We cannot afford to take any risk by allowing people inside the campus. To overcome this, 58 phones were provided to all central prisons.”
Every inmate is allowed to call their family twice a week, and the remand prison inmates are allowed to call thrice a week. “As we have to protect existing inmates, we have moved new ones to sub-jails. We now have 88 such sub-jails,” added Singh.
Meanwhile, Borstal school - a separate block within the Puzhal prison campus accommodates only foreign inmates and those with a travel history. Separate staff have also been appointed for the block and precautionary measures like face masks, sanitisers, soap provided to inmates. The prison staff have also been provided with masks and other safety gears, and have been accommodated very close to their workplace. “In case, any of the staff or a family member has a travel history, we send them on medical leave,” Singh added.
Officials also said that inmates who went on emergency leave were asked to return by April 30. It may be noted that even before the Supreme Court ordered for release of prisoners on bail, State government had begun the procedures.