Rajshahi Jail: Release of 500 prisoners recommended
Rajshahi Central Jail authorities have recommended the release of some 500 prisoners following the government's decision to free those whose sentences are over or those who have been in jail being convicted in minor offences.
The government took the decision in the wake of the risks posed by coronavirus among the prisoners in jail.
The jail authorities sent the list of prisoners to the Prison Directorate in Dhaka several days ago. Senior Jail Super of Rajshahi Central Jail Gias Uddin confirmed it.
He said most of the prisoners in the list were convicted. Most if them have nearly completed their sentences. In the list, there are names of 16 people who are under-trial prisoners. They have been in jail for a long time being convicted in minor offences.
The senior jail super said 30 years of jail sentence is usually considered life sentence. If a prisoner with life-sentence remains in jail for 22 years and doesn't get involve in any crime inside the jail, it is considered that he or she finishes his or her life sentence.
"There are 128 prisoners in Rajshahi Jail whose tenures of punishment are over, or they have been in jail for more than 20 years. Their names have been included in the list for their release," he said.
The jail authorities have recently recommended to the government to free at least 4,450 inmates--1,450 of them served 20 years and 3,000 others were jailed for minor offences, a senior prison official said.
The recommendation was sent as per the home ministry's order in light of the coronavirus outbreak. "We are considering whether those who await trials for bailable offences can be released on bail," Additional Inspector General (IG) of Prisons Abrar Hossain said.
If approved by the home ministry, the recommendation will then be forwarded to the law ministry. Finally, it will be placed before the courts if the law ministry does not have any objection.
The senior jail super of Rajshahi Central Jail said there is no bar to release the prisoners whose punishment terms are over. However, the prisoners who have been in jail committing serious offences like murders and rapes and whose punishment terms are yet to over, they might not be released. However, there are names in the list who have been in jails committing major offences. The government itself would consider about them.
He said the names of some 500 prisoners were sent to the Prison Directorate. Separate lists have been prepared for the prisoners who have been in jail for committing minor offences. Another list has been prepared for the release of the life-term prisoners. Besides, there are names of 16 prisoners who committed minor offences. and were arrested under Sections 51 and 54.
Rajshahi Central Jail has the capacity of keeping 1,450 inmates. But, some 3,400 prisoners always remain here. So, various problems exist here. Risks have been increasing due to the coronavirus outbreak. If the prisoners are released, they will also be released from the Rajshahi Jail. However, it is not possible to say exactly how many prisoners would subsequently be released.
Inspector General of Prisons Brigadier General AKM Mustafa Kamal Pasha has recently said it is the jail authorities' regular practise to recommend the release of life-term prisoners who had served 20 years of their terms and the other convicts who served the two-thirds of their terms.
Until April 1, there were 83,981 inmates against the capacity of 41,314 in the country’s 68 jails, according to the Department of Prisons.
They include 64,822 under-trial inmates and 19,159 convicts, according to the Prison Department.