March 3, 2021 2:50:53 am
The state prison department is in the process of writing to district administrations to draw up a list of inmates eligible for the second phase of Covid vaccination, which began across India on Monday.
A circular will be issued to all jail superintendents, directing them to contact the municipal commissioners or collectors of the areas in which the prisons are located. This is to coordinate with the district authorities regarding prisoners in each jail eligible for vaccination and sign them up for the shots. People above the age group of 60 years and those above 45 years with comorbidities are eligible for the second phase of vaccination. They are expected to sign up on the CoWin app or walk in at vaccination centres.
With prisoners having no access to such facilities, officials said that clarity will be sought on how and when those in jails can be vaccinated. During the initial days of the pandemic, prisoners were tested through health officials visiting jails. Till last month, 44,318 prisoners were tested since last May. According to figures made available by the department, 2,616 prisoners and 576 prison staffers have tested positive across 46 state prisons. The department has recorded 15 deaths, including seven prisoners and eight staffers.
After recommendation from a state-appointed high-powered committee, over 10,000 prisoners were released on temporary bail and emergency parole. Currently, there are 33,425 prisoners in 46 jails across the state against their official capacity of 23,217. As per submission made by the department last May to the high-powered committee, there were 1,340 prisoners above 60 years of age in state prisons then.
Officials said that a list of those eligible for the vaccine is being drawn up with difficulty, as the number of undertrials are dynamic, with many out on bail. “We are in the process of writing to the superintendents of all jails, directing them to contact the district administration to draw up a list from among the prison population,” said Additional Director General (Prisons) Sunil Ramanand.
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