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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Thanks to COVID-19, half of Goa’s convicts remains out of Parole

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Panaji: Almost half of the convicts from Goa’s prison are out on parole due to COVID-19 pandemic curbs in the state, while many have returned back voluntarily to their cells despite liberty of enjoying further parole, a senior prison official said.

A senior official attached to Central Jail at Colvale, which is the lone prison facility of whole of Goa, said that total 61 out of 110 convicts were released on parole on May 13, 2021 after COVID-19 wracked havoc in the coastal state.

The convicts were allowed to go back to their homes on a parole to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 in the prison.

“Total 61 convicts of 110 were given parole depending on their conduct in the prison. 18 of them returned back to the cell even though they had a liberty of enjoying further parole,” he said, adding that rest have continued to be with their families.

He said that the High Powered Committee comprising of Inspector General of Prisons would be meeting soon to decide the fate of the parole as the COVID-19 situation is under control.

“It may be extended, maximum, for more one month and than the convicts will have to return back behind bars,” the official said.

The freedom was not granted to under-trials though in many cases, the court had issued interim bail to them allowing them to be out for a month or two depending on the orders, he said.

The prison management has stopped the practice of allowing relatives of the prisoners to visit them twice a week, for last two years, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The official said that the High Powered Committee might also re-look at restarting the practice as many relatives used to queue up in the prison to meet their family members.

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