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Orissa High Court concerned over the special parole returnees to overcrowded jails

In the wake of pandemic outbreak in March 2020, the HPC had granted special parole to 747 convicts in the State to decongest the already overcrowded jails.

SNS | Bhubaneswar |

With more than half of the jails still overcrowded and packed beyond capacity, the Orissa High Court has expressed concern over the return of prisoners, granted special parole in view of Covid-19 health crisis, to jail.

“Therefore, the Court would like to request the High Power Committee (HPC) to consider whether, given the dire situation of overcrowding in many of the jails in Odisha, the return of prisoners post the Covid-19 phase, whenever that might happen, should be staggered or deferred till the time concrete measures to decongest the jails are undertaken”,

The division bench of the Orissa High Court comprising Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice AK Mohapatra ruled while adjudicating public interest litigation on various issues like overcrowding of Odisha jails.

The HPC had earlier been constituted in pursuance of directions of the Supreme Court on the issue of decongestion of jails includes a High Court judge who is the executive chairperson of Odisha State Legal Services Authority, Principal Secretary Home Department, and Director General Prisons.

In the wake of pandemic outbreak in March 2020, the HPC had granted special parole to 747 convicts in the State to decongest the already overcrowded jails.

As many as 48 out of the 87 prisons in the State are overcrowded. While the total capacity was 19,855, the present prison population was 21,765.

The division bench listed the matter for further hearing on 8 March 2022 and issued directions to the Director-General of Police (prisons) to initiate decongestion measures and enhancement of the housing capacity of the jails.