NCHRO pleads for the release on parole of Aged, Ill or Handicapped Prisoners
26 March 2020
NCHRO welcomes the order issued by the Supreme Court of India to consider releasing the prisoners and under trials on parole. As COVID-19 pandemic looms over the world, human rights activists and health workers are particularly concerned about the virus’ impact on India’s elderly prison population. The Supreme Court has directed the states to constitute a high powered committees to decide on the matter. NCHRO welcomes the order and requests all the state governments to implement the direction immediately.
Health experts all over the world are advising that overcrowding should be avoided wherever possible to contain the spread of this deadly disease. They also point out that the elderly people are more vulnerable to the disease and we all know that a large number of prison inmates are old and suffer from many ailments. Our prisons are overcrowded and ill equipped to handle even minor outbreak of an epidemic.
The apex court has clearly ordered that prisoners convicted for offences having jail term of up to seven years can be given parole. The court also advised the state governments to consider releasing under trials on the same basis.
NCHRO requests the committees should also consider the release on parole of all the elderly, handicapped and those suffering from chronic diseases. Though the prisoners are an isolated population, but new inmates, staff, volunteers or visitors could bring COVID-19 into the prisons with them.
Correctional facilities, according are particularly bad places to be during a viral outbreak, regardless of an inmate’s age. Experts also says that prisons push people into the path of epidemics because of they are living in close confinement. NCHRO appeals all the state governments to form the committees immediately and take necessary actions to release all the elderly, ill or handicapped prisoners.