A total of 94 prisoners and 8 children in conflict with law have been released from the Shillong district jail to reduce overcrowding and prevent spread of COVID-19.
The decision was taken by the High Powered Committee (HPC) headed by Judge of Meghalaya High Court and executive chairman of the Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA), Justice HS Thangkhiew in a meeting held here on Tuesday.
The HPC, which was constituted by the state government in compliance with the recent Supreme Court’s order, discussed on the matter of releasing prisoners on bail, interim bail and parole.
The HPC has two members consisting of the Commissioner & Secretary Prison and the Inspector General of Prison.
A statement issued by the MSLSA informed that the Committee also deliberated on the present condition and preparedness of the Prison Department to deal with congestion in district Jails.
It said that 174 prisoners were identified from the Shillong District jail, which constituted 37.9% of the total population of the jail.
“On 31 st March, 2020, 94 prisoners were released from the District Jail, Shillong. The prisoners released were from East Khasi Hills District,” the MSLSA said.
Meghalaya has five district jails – Shillong, Williamnagar, Jowai, Tura and Nongpoh. The total population of Shillong jail is 459 against the capacity of 170.
The MSLSA further said that the release of prisoners in other district jails shall soon follow under the supervision of the District Legal Services Authority with the assistance of the Legal Aid counsel.
The statement said that the Social Welfare Department also informed that eight (of twenty) children in conflict with Law were released on March 30, from the observation home (Boys) Mawkasiang, Shillong.