Visakhapatnam: The Andhra Pradesh prison department has begun releasing prisoners on interim bail and emergency parole following the Supreme Court’s suggestion on March 23 that states may consider releasing those facing jail term of seven years and below to decongest jails in view of spreading coronavirus.
In the first phase, 74 prisoners, including seven women, were released from the Central Jail in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday evening. Of them 53 were undertrial prisoners and 21 convicts. All the seven women are undertrial prisoners.
The central jail has 1,350 inmates as on date. Giving a break up, the jail authorities said among the undertrial prisoners, 47 were from Visakhapatnam district, two each from Vizianagaram and Srikakulam and one from East Godavari. Of the convicted prisoners, 15 were from Visakhapatnam, five from Vizianagaram and one from Srikakulam.
The prisoners were released in the presence of seventh additional metropolitan magistrate Jagadish Kumar and central jail superintendent S Rahul.
“Only petty offenders were released as per the directions of the judge who went to the prison and decided on who should be released,’’ said IG of prisons G. Jayavardhan.
However, no ganja smuggler was given parole, he added. The Vizag jail has around 600 ganja smugglers comprising half of the capacity and they hail from different parts of the country.
Andhra Pradesh has four central prisons located at Vizag, Rajahmundry, Nellore and Kadapa. All central prisons hold over 4,200 prisoners (both male and female and convicts and under-trials).
These prisoners, however, will be under constant watch of jail authorities and will be tracked on a daily basis by special committees to ensure that they do not escape.
Telangana government is yet to form a committee to release the prisoners. Maharashtra and UP have announced the release of 11,000 prisoners each, West Bengal and Delhi have announced the release of 3,000 prisoners each. Punjab is set to release over 6,000 prisoners.
According to a report from Kakinada, as many as 73 remand prisoners were granted bail in East and West Godavari districts, out of which 17 were already released on Monday. The remaining 55 will be released on Wednesday. Central jail superintendent of Rajahmundry, Srirama Rajarao said that the prisoners should again come to jail, after the expiry of their bail.
He said that all arrangements were made to release them on April 1.
Meanwhile, East Godavari sub-jails officer Mr Tirupal said that already 17 prisoners were released from Kakinada (2), Prathipadu (6) and Tuni (2) jails. West Godavari sub-jails officer Mr S. Kishore Kumar said that seven prisoners were released from Tanuku (4) and Narsapuram (3) jails.
Three remand prisoners walked out of the Nellore jail on Tuesday. Superintendent of the prison Mr Ravi Kiran said there are 25 more eligible for the release provided they produce sureties.
However many of them are from other districts and they are wary over securing the release since it is a herculean task to reach their hometowns in the backdrop of lockdown.
Moreover they have to be in home isolation and also under the radar of police, Mr Ravi Kiran said pointing to the lukewarm response to the release offer.
Thirty prisoners, including 16 convicted in various offences and 14 remand prisoners, were released on parole from the Kadapa central prison on Tuesday. The prisoners have been ordered to return to the jail by 25 or 26 of April.
The Kadapa prison has more than 800 inmates, including 500 convicts and the remaining are remand prisoners....