Bhubaneswar: Amid the spurt in COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases, the Odisha government has released 3,481 undertrial prisoners and convicts on bail and parole respectively, in its bid to decongest jails across the state.
Some inmates have also been relocated to less-crowded jails, DGP (prison) S K Upadhyay said.
"We have (temporarily) released 3,481 undertrial prisoners and convicts. They were allowed to go home following a thorough judicial process," he told PTI on Thursday.
The district undertrial review committee, led by judges, took the decision to grant bail after going through the records of the inmates.
Those involved in cases inviting a maximum punishment of 10 years were given priority, Upadhyay said.
Similarly, the ones that have already served at least five years' sentence were considered for parole.
"Local police have been told not to take any coercive action against those released due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis," the DGP (prison) said.
New prisoners were being placed under quarantine for 14 days before allowing them to share jail cells with other inmates, he stated.
"All NGO activities in the jails have also been suspended for the time being. This apart, steps have also been taken for arranging 'e-mulakats' (e-meetings) between the inmates and their family members," Upadhyay said, adding that jail officials, including cooks, have been told to maintain hygiene on prison premises.