Indian state to parole more than 17,000 prisoners
Around 17,600 inmates in the western Indian state of Maharashtra will be temporarily released from prison in an attempt to control the spread of Covid-19.
A special committee ordered the release of the group, which accounts for half of the state’s prison population.
Prisoners convicted of less serious crimes, or those awaiting trial for them, will be released after submitting a parole request.
Inmates convicted of more serious offences, such as money laundering, organized crime, and drug trafficking will not be eligible under the scheme.
Maharashtra's decision comes after India's Supreme Court directed all states to form "High Powered Committees" to consider the release of prisoners.
The committee can "determine which class/category of the prisoners can be released on interim bail or parole depending not only upon the severity of the offence, but also the nature of offence or any other relevant factor,” the court's order said.
Maharashtra has the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India, with 23,401 recorded cases and 868 deaths.
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