Coronavirus Pandemic

India Covid crisis: Prisoners reluctant to go on parole

Web Report/New Delhi
Filed on June 1, 2021

The convicts were not interested in being released temporarily.

While the Maharashtra government is willing to temporarily release prisoners to decongest jails during the Covid crisis, some are reluctant to leave fearing that their presence may not be welcomed at home.

About 26 convicts in different jails have refused to apply for emergency parole despite being eligible for it, according to a news report on Tuesday. Citing the minutes of a meeting held by the government recently, the report said the convicts were not interested in being released temporarily.

Nearly 10,000 prisoners have been released on emergency parole and temporary bail from the 46 jails in the state after the Supreme Court ordered their decongestion following the Covid pandemic.

A jail official told the newspaper that some of the eligible prisoners were apprehensive of getting a job or earning their livelihood during the lockdown and preferred to continue staying in prison. They do not want to become a burden on their families during these tough times, he added. And some want to continue serving their jail term and hope it gets completed at the earliest.

A middle-aged convict from Odisha, who has still five more years in jail in Mumbai, said he wanted to continue earning in prison. Ravindra Vaidya, founder-president of Varhad, which works with convicts in the state, said an undertrial who was released on emergency parole recently surrendered as he wanted to earn money to help his mother.

According to Vaidya, many prisoners have been seeking jobs, while others were being refused entry to their villages either because of the nature of their crime, or due fears of Covid.

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