Birgunj juvenile reform home turn away parents who had come to take their children home amid Covid-19 scareBirgunj prison is preparing to release elderly inmates to stem coronavirus risk.
A group of parents who had reached the juvenile reform home in Birgunj on Tuesday to take their children home amid Covid-19 lockdown were turned away.
They had reached the facility after four teenage boys were handed over to their parents on Monday.
Tika Krishna Kaphle, chief of the juvenile home, said the four boys were released at the instruction of the concerned courts.
“We have handed them to their parents on condition of making them available if needed in the future,” Kaphle said.
He added that the juvenile home will not be releasing any of the juvenile inmates during the lockdown period.
Meanwhile, the Birgunj Prison is preparing to release some of the inmates to minimise the risk of coronavirus spread inside the prison facility.
Those who are set to be released are elderly inmates with sentences lower than two years.
Prison officer Shrawan Kumar Pokharel said the Department of Prison Management had decided to release inmates who are above 65 years of age.
“We have sent a list of 49 names of elderly inmates to the department,” said Pokharel.
The department has also asked the details of inmates serving jail terms for one year or less.
“There are more than two dozen such inmates in Birgunj Prison. I have started to collect applications from those inmates from Tuesday,” said Pokharel.
The Covid-19 release programme for prisoners, however, will not apply to repeat convicts.
According to the prison administration, the inmates will be released only after the lockdown has been lifted.
“We are not going to leave the inmates stranded on their way to their homes,” said Pokharel.
Currently, there are 1,300 inmates, males and females, in Birgunj prison which is twice the capacity of the prison.
To stem the possible spread of coronavirus, the prison administration has compulsorily enforced the rules of facemasks and sanitisers for visitors as well as limited the visiting hours.
“We are only allowing one visitor per inmate these days. The visitors are not allowed to bring food to the inmates,” said Pokharel.
According to data on the prison published a year ago, there are more than 80 inmates suffering from high blood pressure and 32 from diabetes in the prison. There are also a few asthma and HIV/AIDS patients.
“This is why the prison is at high risk of coronavirus. We are also on high alert as many Indian nationals also arrive in the prison to meet inmates on a daily basis,” said Pokharel.