The Maharashtra jails after the third wave of COVID-19 have reported 291 positive cases of inmates. Apart from this, as many as 57 prison staff had tested positive for the coronavirus across the jails in the state.
Sources from the prison department claim most of the inmates tested positive. Are the inmates who are newcomers sent in judicial custody by the court. Before entering the jail they went through a test and accordingly after being tested positive are quarantined at the temporary prison or at civic hospital in the district.
As per the data provided by the prison department, the 291 positive inmates includes 7 each in Mumbai Central Jail and Thane Central Jail, 6 in byculla district prison, one in Mumbai women prison in Byculla. 5 in Kalyan district prison, 51 in Yerwada Central jail, 30 in Kolhapur Central Jail, 15 in Satara District prison, 39 in Ahmednagar district prison, 20 in Nagpur Central Jail, 11 in Aurangabad Central prison, 18 in Akola district prison and 8 in Latur district prison among others.
Similarly the 57 jail staff includes 13 in Kolhapur central jail, 2 in Thane Central Jail, one in Taloja Central Jail, 3 in Satara district prison and 4 in Nashik Central prison among others.
Since April 2020, cases have started rising across various jails in Maharashtra. The prison department started taking covid-19 test across the jail. If the data provided by the prison department is to be believed around 1, 23, 482 covid-19 tests were carried out on inmates across Maharashtra. “Around 5227 inmates tested positive in the past 18 to 20 months and 4923 had been cured from the disease, while 13 of them had died. Meanwhile, 7683 covid tests were done on the prison staff, where 1112 staff tested positive for covid-19 and 1045 had already been cured from the disease after treatment. Around 10 of the prison staff died during the pandemic,” said sources from the prison department.
Sources from the jail authorities claim compared to the last two waves the prison department was well prepared for the third wave. “Continuous awareness camps about wearing masks and maintaining social distance and hygiene of washing hands were followed. Vaccination drive was sped up seeing the risk factor of the virus and its spread,” added an official.
Another official from the prison department said cases are coming up in the third wave. “Many schools across Maharashtra were used as temporary jails or quarantine centres. But with school reopening many collectors asked the jail officials to hand them over the schools. Following the order the school was handed over.
The prison authorities are facing difficulty in shifting the inmates who tested positive,” added the official.
The official further added, “Usually any new inmate after a test, whether it be positive or negative he was kept in the temporary jail or quarantine centre. But after the schools are reopened and handed over. Inmates had to be shifted to civic hospital or some quarantine centre at the jail itself. It results in security reasons and risk of inmates running away,” said an official.
Last month after inmates were tested positive at Adharwadi jail in Kalyan. These inmates were shifted to Thane civic hospital, which is almost 30 kilometers away. “As the Aadharwadi jail authorities had handed over the school an temporary jail allotted to them. They had to shift the inmates to Thane civic hospital and have to face lapse in security,” added the official.