In the light of substantial downward trend in cases of COVID in Punjab, the High Powered Committee constituted by Supreme Court of India for dealing with COVID in prisons has decided not to extend the parole of prisoners any further.
The Committee headed by Justice Ajay Tewari, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, with Mr. D. K. Tiwari IAS, Principal Secretary (Jails) and Mr. P. K. Sinha IPS, ADGP (Prisons) recommended that all the prisoners surrender back to the prisons, which have been designated specifically for quarantining the returnees before testing and transferring them to their respective prisons.
Disclosing this, a spokesperson of the Jail Department said that the whole process shall be done in a phased manner starting 17.02.2021 onwards, for which ‘first out-first in’ mechanism shall be followed i.e. the prisoners who have availed the longest period of parole would report back to the prisons first.
Pointing out further, the spokesperson said that a schedule for return of approx. 650-700 prisoners in one batch every 9-10 days has been circulated to all the concerned authorities. “All the parolees are required to report at the designated jail (Barnala or Pathankot for Male; Malerkotla for Female) with a negative COVID test report (RT-PCR only) received within 3 days preceding the surrender”, said the spokesperson adding they shall be quarantined in the jail for 4 days (including the day of surrender), and COVID sample collected on 5th day, subsequent to which, they shall be transferred to their respective prisons.
If any prisoner tests positive in the pre-admission test, he/she shall inform the Superintendent of the designated prison at the earliest possible, and shall report on the 18th day from the date of result.
Divulging more, the spokesperson said as the return is planned in a phased manner, parole of all the prisoners released on parole in 2020 and presently out on parole shall stand extended till the date on which they have been asked to surrender at the respective designated jails created for this purpose. The Prisoners above 60 years in age and those with chronic co-morbidities shall be taken back in the last batch of parole returnees, said the spokesperson.
However, this schedule shall not apply to prisoners released on parole in the year 2021, who shall return to the respective Special Jails, as and when their parole period expires.