Vijayawada: Following the directive of the Supreme Court to decongest prisons in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak in the country, authorities of different jails in Andhra Pradesh started the process of releasing the inmates of various prisons in the state.

In the first phase, 74 prisoners, including seven women, were released from the Central prison in Vizag city on 31 March. Of them, 53 were under-trial prisoners and 21 were convicted prisoners who were released on emergency parole. All seven women were under-trial prisoners. The Central prison in Vizag city has 1,350 inmates as of date.

The prison authorities released the inmates on personal bond and handed them over to the respective police stations through the district administration. The police will provide transport facilities to the released prisoners to reach their hometowns. A senior officer with the prisons department said over 400 prisoners in Andhra Pradesh will be released in a couple of days.

Inspector general of prisons, Andhra Pradesh, G. Jayavardhan said only petty offenders were released as per the directions of the judges who went to the prison and decided who should be released. No ganja smuggler or those accused and convicted in rape cases were released in the first phase, he added. The Vizag Central has around 600 ganja smugglers comprising half of the capacity and they hail from different parts of the country.

Andhra Pradesh has four Central prisons at Vizag, Rajahmundry, Nellore, and Kadapa. They hold over 4,200 prisoners, both male and female and convicts and under-trials. These prisoners, however, will be under the constant watch of jail authorities and will be tracked on a daily basis by special committees to ensure that they do not escape.

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