As the number of COVID-19 cases increases at Thiruvananthapuramâ€™s Poojappura central jail, the Kerala State Human Rights Commission has asked state authorities to provide proper quarantine facilities to inmates in all jails. The commission has said that quarantine facilities should be arranged in other institutions if no space is available within the jails.
More than 470 inmates of Poojappura central jail have tested positive for coronavirus, and one inmate has died as a result of the disease. In Thiruvananthapuram district jail, many have also tested positive.
Human Rights Commission Chairman Justice Antony Dominic told the jail director general that the parole of eligible inmates should be allowed and extended, considering present circumstances. He noted that media reports made clear that the condition of the jails was critical.
In many jails, the commission noted, the number of inmates is higher than permissible standards. In its instruction, the commission has asked that physical distancing be maintained in jails and all precautions suggested by the Health Department should be implemented.
The commission also pointed out that jail officials who are in contact with the inmates are also at risk. Inmates of Poojappura and Nettukaltheri Open Jail have given complaints to the Human Rights Commission over the issue.
The jail director general Rishiraj Singh has given a report in this regard. The report states that eligible inmates are allowed 60 days parole based on Supreme Court order. Inmates, who are on seven-year sentences, are allowed also interim bail, based on the High Court order.
The jail DGPâ€™s report also mentions that there are limited quarantine facilities available, and that all measures are being taken to control the spread of coronavirus.
Justice Antony Dominic asked authorities to take the concerns of inmates seriously.