Director-General of Police (Prisons) Sunil Kumar Singh said that the move was to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from any newcomer to the existing prisoners

In a bid to ensure that prisoners already lodged in prisons across the State do not contract COVID-19 from fresh inmates, the Tamil Nadu Prison Department has notified District Jails, Sub-Jails and Borstal schools at 37 cities/districts to accommodate newcomers.Director-General of Police (Prisons) Sunil Kumar Singh said that the move was to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from any newcomer to the existing prisoners.The newly-earmarked prisons were cleaned and disinfected to house the newcomers. Adequate staff strength was provided in the jails notified for fresh inmates remanded in judicial custody by courts.“As a precautionary step, the newcomers will subjected to medical screening and anybody having symptoms of cough, cold, sneezing, breathlessness, sore throat and fever will be referred to the nearest Government Hospital for further check up,” Mr Singh said in a release.Though the Standard Operating Procedure in prisons is that all newcomers are mandatorily isolated for a period of 14 days in Quarantine Blocks, irrespective of whether they have any ailments or not, the decision to notify separate jails was to prevent the possibility of asymptomatic infected persons mingling with a larger crowd, sources in the prison department said.The occupancy of the 135 prisons in the State is 11,985, which is 51.23 per cent of the total capacity. About 4,000 inmates involved in petty offences were released on bail, including personal bond, in the last ten days, the sources added.

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