Jharkhand govt to declare all jails as containment zones
The government would take strict measures to seclude the large number of inmates and staff from outside exposure.Updated: Aug 06, 2020 14:02 IST
Alarmed by the recent discovery of 67 infected jail inmates and staffers at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail (BMCJ) and Pakur’s divisional jail, the state government is all set to declare prisons across the state as containment zones to ban any unauthorised entry and exit, officials said on Wednesday.
A decision in this regard has been taken and a formal order is likely to be issued soon.
Confirming the development, inspector general (IG), prison, Birendra Bhushan said, “It has been decided to declare all jails across the state as containment zones to impose complete lockdown there. Sampling would also be ramped up. Besides, many other decisions are also taken for effective containment of the pandemic.”
Bhushan added, “An order in this regard will be issued soon.”
As many as 54 people, including 32 inmates and 22 staff of BMCJ, were found infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus on August 3. Among the infected inmates, two are politicians. Besides, 13 prisoners lodged in Pakur divisional jail were also found infected with the virus.
The spike in Covid cases among jail inmates has prompted the government to take strict measures to seclude the large number of inmates and staff from outside exposure.
At present, Jharkhand has around 26,000 prisoners lodged in different jails across the state. The total capacity of these jails, however, is approximately 20,000.
Elaborating on the decisions taken, the IG (Prison) said, “Prisoners’ meetings with their relatives would remain suspended. Usage of telephone booths by inmates would not be allowed during lockdown period. All the cells would not be opened simultaneously for prisoners’ movement inside the jail premises. Only one cell would be opened at a time.”
“Besides, movement of jail staff too would be restricted. No one would be allowed to venture outside,” he said.
The IG also informed that in order to contain the spread of the disease, a decision has also been taken to improve the food quality by adding more nutritious items and immunity boosters like eggs, lemon tea, and ‘kaadha’.
“We are also trying to set up a dedicated 100-bed Covid hospital for jail inmates at Ranchi’s Khelgaon sports complex. Every jail has already set up an isolation centre in its premises,” Bhushan said.
In order to prevent panic among inmates, the jail administrations have been asked to initiate counselling sessions for prisoners.
Through amplified sound systems, the inmates are being informed about the pandemic’s nature of spread and its recovery pattern. They are being motivated to take it positively and that there was nothing to worry about as all possible steps were being taken.