Chennai: There has never been overcrowding in jails in Tamil Nadu and over 6,000 inmates were granted bail recently to prevent coronavirus spread, bringing down the present strength to a little over half of the capacity, authorities said on Sunday.
More than 6,000 inmates, a big chunk of themundertrails and remand prisoners, were released on bail from different prisons, they said.
As a result, the present strength of prisoners in 135 plus jails, including nine central and five special prisons for women, in the state is approximately 13,500 as against the authorised capacity of about 23,000, prison sources told PTI.
From as early as March, jail authorities, in association with the judiciary and police, began preparations to facilitate eligible remand prisoners andundertrailsavail bail and convicts to go onleave.
“Considering the infrastructure and regulations in force, there has never been overcrowding in prisons in Tamil Nadu,” an officialsaid.
Duration of leave of those, who were let out of prisons before coronavirus cases surfaced in Tamil Nadu, was periodically extendedand as of now, their leave is effective till June 1, sources added.
Those who returned after the expiry of their leavewere given furtherextension and as and when prisoners applied for leave, their petitions were being processed expeditiously as per rules, theysaid.
To avoid the crowd of visitors, central prisons were also provided with smartphones and inmates make video calls to their family members.
In Tamil Nadu, there also nine district jails, 85 plus sub-jails for men, eight for women andseparate special sub- jails for both the gender besides borstal schools and open air prisons.