Bhubaneswar: The Prisons department has sought the state government’s permission to close down under-occupied 18 jails.
Initially, the department has proposed to close 12 of its total 88 jails. “As the video-conferencing facilities are available in nearby bigger jails, it would be easier to produce the inmates of the closed jails before the courts concerned,” HT quoted director general of prisons, Santosh Upadhyay as saying.
Upadhyay said many jails being closed were built when the state was under the British rule. While the jail at Pallahara has a capacity for 58 inmates, half of it is not occupied. The jails in Madanpur-Rampur of Kalahandi and in Sohela of Bargarh face similar situation.
According to official sources, there are 17,563 undertrials and convicts in the jails against the capacity of 19,291 with occupancy of 91% in Odisha. Delhi had the highest occupancy rate in prisons of 174.9% followed by Uttar Pradesh (167.9%) and Uttarakhand (159.0%) till December 31, 2019.
Meanwhile, a new prison has come up at Athgarh and another is under construction in Sundargarh.