Prisoners at high risk of coronavirus

Number of inmates at Rajshahi jail more than double the capacity

Published : 02 Apr 2020 09:59 PM | Updated : 05 Sep 2020 08:24 AM

Inmates of Rajshahi Central Jail are in a high-risk of coronavirus because they have to stay and sleep huddling together at their wards.  It is learnt, at least 120 prisoners used to stay and sleep together in a ward with a capacity of 50. As a result, during sleeping, they have no way to sleep separately rather in a way where everyone's body get in touch with other.

Even, while staying in the ward, they can not maintain the required distance needed for a person to get rid of Coronavirus contact.  Rajshahi Central Jail authorities were in a dilemma on how to maintain the ‘social distance’ among the prisoners in such huddling accommodation. 

Gias Uddin, Senior Jail Superintendent of RCJ, said that there is no way to maintain social distance inside the jail. It is a great problem. He was worried, if any coronavirus infected person lands in jail anyhow, God knows what will be the situation of other inmates of jail, he added. 

He also said that they are alert and keeping the prisoners clean and tidy all the time. They are taking bath, washing their hands, legs an mouth  regularly. Moreover, whenever a new prisoner lands in the jail, s/he is tested of diseases at the jail gate by the jail doctors. 

RCJ sources informed, as against the capacity of 1,450, the total number of inmates (prisoners and under-trial prisoners or hajotees) at the jail on Wednesday was 3,400. During the early March the number of prisoners was less because some of them were being released on bail but now accused are being arrested regularly for various charges but they were not getting bail since the bail hearing at the courts remained suspended now a days. 

As a result, the number of prisoners at the jail was continually increasing.  Abul Hashem, Police Inspector of Rajshahi Metropolitan Judges court informed, the Judges were working at the courts. Most of the accused in petty cases are being granted bail but the accused of the complex cases are being sent to jail.

Even, the pleaders were not being able to file a bail petition for those accused. Even, no bail hearing for the old prisoners is not being held. As a result, the number of inmates at the jail was increasing day to day. 

Gias Uddin informed before the suspension of bail hearing, some 400 prisoners were granted bail by the courts. Moreover, term of imprisonment of some prisoners is being completed regularly and they were being released.

He further said, only a small number of accused are now being sent in the jail, but it is true the number of prisoners at the jail is now more than the double of the capacity. 

It is really worrying during this coronavirus situation. The new prisoners at the jail are being kept in isolation for 14-day and their health is being checked at the jail gate. He said, so far 35 prisoners have been kept in separation till Wednesday.