Seventy-nine convicted male prisoners were released from jails across Karnataka on Sunday over good conduct as part of the state government’s efforts to help reformed convicts return to the mainstream.
But the move upset women prisoners who alleged their applications were not given the same consideration. A group of female convicts met Home Minister G Parameshwara and complained about their applications being rejected without any reason being cited. Some male convicts claimed prison officials were targeting them by turning down their applications. Venkatannan, a murder convict from Tumakuru, complained to the home minister, who hails from the district, that his third application for early release was rejected by a superintendent of police who has a “personal agenda” against him.
Among the released convicts, 28 were from the Bengaluru Central Prison, 18 from Mysuru, eight from Belagavi, 14 from Kalaburgi, four from Vijayapura, five from Ballari and two from Dharwad.
They were counselled, as per the prison manual, on how to join the mainstream and promised financial assistance if they were interested to start any business. Their earnings during the jail term have been deposited into their Jan Dhan bank accounts.
This was the third early release of convicts since December 2017. A total of 109 convicts were released last December and 98 in March this year. “I began working on the early release of convicts in 2015 when I first became the home minister. The practice was discarded after 2006. I recommended the early release of convicts to the governor’s office within the framework of the law and the Constitution,” Parameshwara said. “A total of 1,334 convicts have been released since 2015 for good conduct.”
Another 58 prisoners have been recommended for early release on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, ADGP (Prisons) N S Megharikh said.
The department has spent Rs 3 crore to set up telephone booths in prisons across the state to help inmates contact their families, DIG (Prisons) H S Revanna said.