COVID-19 IMPACT: Many Prison Authorities Begin Releasing Prisoners On Bail

Updated: May 24, 2020

On March 23, it suggested that prisoners convicted of, or charged with, offences involving jail terms of seven years or less could be considered for parole or interim bail. Supreme Court said overcrowding of prisons was a matter of serious concern, particularly in the wake of Coronavirus. Following a Supreme Court suggestion, states have started releasing inmates on bail for 30-60 days, sending them home for quarantine.


  • Delhi - In Tihar Jail, the country’s largest with 17,500 inmates, authorities plan to release 3,000, of whom 400 have already been released.

  • Madhya Pradesh - The Madhya Pradesh government issued a statement saying that it was “releasing about 5,000 convicts on emergency parole of 60 days. Another 3,000 undertrials will be released on interim bail of 45 days.

  • UTTAR PRADESH - 11,000 inmates lodged across 71 jails will now be released in accordance with an order of the Allahabad High Court which directed the state government not to overcrowd prisons during the Coronavirus outbreak.

  • MAHARASHTRA - The state has proposed to release over 11,000 inmates while making COVID-19 tests mandatory for all new ones.

  • Haryana - The state has also asked prison authorities to come up with a block-wise timetable relating to food and other services for the prevention of overcrowding.

  • Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Ladakh have identified vulnerable groups of prisoners - such as aged one with respiratory diseases - for special attention.

  • Rajasthan and Jharkhand are decongesting jails by transferring inmates to other, less-congested prisons.

  • Kerala prison authorities are educating inmates about the virus and asking them to be conscious and cautious about their surroundings.

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