No COVID-19 infected person be kept inside jail: Odisha Govt tells prison authorities
Bhubaneswar: To contain the spread of COVID-19 infection, Odisha Government on Thursday decided that no COVID-19 infected person be kept inside the jail premises. The State Government issued a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) to the superintendents of all jails asking them to implement it in letter and spirit.
The Directorate of Prisons and Correctional Services, Odisha, in the letter, asked the superintendents of all jails to take measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 inside the prisons. About 200 jail inmates of different prisons had tested positive for the infection last year, an official said, adding that the Government then allowed to keep the COVID-19 cases on the jail premises separately.
However, this time, the SOP has categorically said that the prison inmates will be sent to the dedicated COVID Care Centres or COVID hospitals for treatment. “Anybody found positive in this process, should be sent to the dedicated COVID Care Centre/COVID Health Centre/COVID Hospital by the concerned remanding agencies like Police, Forest, Excise or Vigilance as the case may be for treatment with the permission of remanding courts,” the SOP said, adding that they will be shifted to jails after recovery from COVID-19. Other instructions in the SOP as well as guidelines issued during 2020 shall be followed, the letter mentioned.
Last year in accordance with a court order, the Odisha Government had released 16,789 under trial prisoners (UTPs) and convicts to decongest prison cells. The Government had also introduced an e-Mulakat system in order to reduce physical interaction between prisoners and their family members during meetings.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Odisha Police has collected a penalty of over Rs 25 lakh from violators while enforcing COVID-19 protocols in the last 24 hours. A total of Rs 25,07,900 fine has been collected from 9,400 persons on charges of violating COVID-19 protocols in different parts of the State on the first day of the special COVID enforcement drive, Odisha Police said.
Following the direction of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday, the Odisha Police has launched the 10-day special drive to enforce the COVID-19 protocol. Odisha Police 10-day special drive will continue till April 17 to contain the spread of the infection.