KHULNA: A total of 482 prisoners, who have been languishing for years at Khulna Jail on minor convictions, will be released as per the directives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to ease overcrowding in the prison system, reports UNB.
The jail authorities prepared the list based on a set of parameters before sending it to Dhaka, recommending their release in phases subject to final approval. The directive in this regard will come soon, expects Jannatul Farhad, jailer of Khulna Jail.Earlier, Inspector General (Prisons) Brigadier General Syed Iftekharuddin disclosed 142 prisoners have been released from Sylhet Central Jail after completing all legal steps, with more to follow under the phased-out process.
Bangladesh’s long-overcrowded prison system has been stretched to breaking point in recent times, with the spike in arrests in light of the campaign to root out militancy, and even more following the intensified anti-narcotics drive that was rolled out last May.
Sources at the Department of Prisons told the agency the country’s 68 jails can accommodate 36,614 prisoners. Usually, the jails house over 70,000 prisoners, about double the capacity. But as of June 24, the prison population had swelled to 83,350.
Earlier jail authorities had complained they were facing an uphill task to accommodate the growing number of prisoners, especially in the frontier districts, as those are overcrowded well above their capacity.
The most startling revelation in the numbers obtained from the Dept. of Prisons was that of the total as of June 24, over 35,000 were jailed on drugs-related cases. Yet less than 1 in 7 of them, some 5,218, had actually been convicted in the cases. Around 19,000 were embroiled in some stage of the trial process, stretching out over years in many cases.