Prison authorities told to allow video calls between jail inmates, their kin
The government has ordered that all the Mulaqats – meeting between the prisoners and their family members, be stopped till the pandemic is controlled and that video calls/phone calls be allowed.Updated: May 04, 2020 04:40 IST
Worried over coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infection spread in country’s overcrowded prisons, the ministry of home affairs on Sunday issued fresh guidelines for detained, convicted and undertrials.
The government has ordered that all the Mulaqats – meeting between the prisoners and their family members, be stopped till the pandemic is controlled and that video calls/phone calls be allowed. The prisons have also been asked to stop all group activities of the inmates barring crucial ones with social distancing measures.
It also asked all the states’ chief secretaries and prison heads to earmark separate building as a holding area for those detainees who might have had a history of foreign travel or exposure to Covid-19 patients. The jail staff members who are showing any Covid-19 symptoms must not be allowed entry the jail, the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued along with the order stated.
The MHA decided to issue detailed guidelines for prisons after close to two dozen cases of infections were reported at Indore jail in Madhya Pradesh.
“People in prisons and other places of detention, living in closed and crowded environment, are likely to be more vulnerable to the coronavirus disease. Moreover, experience shows that prisons, jails and similar settings where people gather in close proximity may act as a source of infection and spread of infectious diseases within and beyond prisons. Any control strategy for Covid-19 in the community which does not encompass the prison context will not be sustainable,” Home secretary Ajay Bhalla stated in his letter.
For the prisoners who are moving in and out daily, MHA has recommended that a daily diary be maintained.