‘3,500 prisoners to be shifted from overcrowded jails’

Raja says the total number of prisoners in Punjab is currently 45,535

APP April 11, 2020

LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Social Welfare Muhammad Basharat Raja said on Friday that a transfer plan has been made to shift 3,500 prisoners from overcrowded jails to others to enable maximum social distancing in prisons.

In a statement the minister said: “the total number of prisoners in Punjab is currently 45,535, out of which the number of under-trial prisoners is 25,708 and of them 713 are females.”

Basharat Raja highlighted that the new prisoners arriving in the premises are being tested and kept in quarantine centres for 14 days. Moreover, he said that on the directions of chief minister screening of prisoners was being arranged in all prisons of the province.

He highlighted that corona counters have also been set up at the entrance gates besides the setup of corona wards in all district jails of Punjab. All visitors are allowed to enter the premises only after strict checking at these counters.

He added that all medical staff in jails have been given special training about novel coronavirus prevention and had been provided with personal protection kits.

“As soon as symptoms of coronavirus appear in any prisoner, his meetings with relatives and court appearances are stopped immediately,” he asserted, adding, “Staff on duty in prisons are not allowed to go out of the premises.”

“No prisoners are allowed to move from one barrack to another and all gatherings have been banned in the jails to safeguard against the pandemic.”

The minister said the prisons staff and detainees have also been informed about the novel coronavirus preventive measures in accordance with the World Health Organisation guidelines.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2020.

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