The number of cases among inmates has also dipped with active cases at 45 on Saturday, as compared to 170 in the last week of May, said officials of the state prison department.

Close to 7,600 inmates from 46 prisons in Maharashtra have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, so far.

The number of cases among inmates has also dipped with active cases at 45 on Saturday, as compared to 170 in the last week of May, said officials of the state prison department.

According to data, as on Saturday evening, a total of 7,590 inmates have received their first dose, including 5,573 undertrials and 2,017 convicts. These numbers include male and female prisoners from 46 prisons across the state.

Since the second week of May, amid rising cases among inmates and increased risk of infection within prisons, the prison department has once again started releasing undertrials on interim bail and convicts on emergency parole to decongest jails, as per guidelines by a high power committee (HPC) formed by the state government.

To date, a total of 1,800 inmates have been released on bail and parole. The total population of prisons in the state stands at 33,800, including inmates at main premises of the prisons and close to 40 temporary prisons set up to contain the spread of Covid-19.

According to vaccination data, as on Saturday, 711 inmates from Pune’s Yerawada central prison have received their jabs. These numbers stand at 509 in Thane central prison, 403 in Kolhapur central, 643 in Nashik central, 909 in Amravati central, and 410 in Arthur Road prison. Officials said the process of administering the second dose to prisoners had also started in most prisons.

Since the pandemic began last year, 44 out of 47 prison establishments in the state have reported Covid infections. As on Saturday, the total number of reported cases among inmates was 4,098, of which 13 were deaths, 4,040 were recovered cases and 45 active. These active cases were reported from 16 out of 46 prisons. Other prisons did not have any active case as on Saturday. If this data is to be compared to data points in the last week of May, there were just 172 active cases among inmates across the state when 4,029 was the total number of infections.

In late April, the Bombay High Court asked the HPC to issue guidelines on interim bail or parole to decongest prisons. The HPC comprises Justice A A Sayed, a judge of the Bombay High Court; Anand Limaye, additional chief secretary (appeals and security), home department; and Sunil Ramanand, additional director general of police and head of state prisons department. The committee held meetings on May 7 and 11. Based on its guidelines, authorities started releasing inmates on interim bail and emergency parole once again in the second week of May.

Officials said the various criteria for decongestion of jails, as issued under the HPC guidelines last year, will continue to be applicable this year as well.

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