Now, parole is no walk in the park

Now, parole is no walk in the park

Stricter checks, orientation sessions to precede temporary release

Now, parole is no walk in the park

The disappearance of 62 prisoners who were out on parole in the last decade has finally spurred the State Prisons department to look into the problem.

“We have imposed stringent checks while granting parole to jail inmates, after it came to our notice that 62 prisoners obtained parole and absconded. However, 20 of them were apprehended, while some of them returned on their own after the stringent checks. The ones missing are mostly from other states. We are coordinating with the police in other states,” K V Gagandeep, Additional Director General of Police and Inspector General of Prisons, said.

A ‘parole’ is a temporary leave granted under the Karnataka Prison Manual (KPM) Act, 1978, for prisoners who have served more than two years in jail. Such prisoners are usually granted either general parole or emergency parole. General parole is granted under the recommendation of the jail superintendent for good conduct of the prisoner and can last up to 30 days. Emergency parole is granted only if the prisoner has to attend a funeral or if there is a relevant crisis in the family. Usually, the convict on parole is accompanied by a police escort.

The approval of the local police is mandatory to sanction parole for a prisoner. In most cases during the last few years, the prisons staff violated the norms and granted parole to a few prisoners in return for favours.

Earlier, the jail authorities did not verify the genuineness of the grounds for seeking parole. Once out in the open, the convicts jumped parole. This had also given scope for corruption and preferential treatment to some convicts by the jail authorities, said a senior official.

“It’s an absolute risk to forego dangerous convicts, who have been charged with murder, assault, rape and other serious crimes. Some time back in Mandya, an inmate, after jumping parole, attempted to attack people responsible for his conviction,” Gagandeep said. If the jurisdictional police say that the release of the prisoner may disturb law and order in the area, the jail authorities can cancel or withdraw the parole.

Balasubramanya Raje Urs alias Balu was involved in a double murder in Tilak Nagar on July 20, 1988. A city court convicted him on May 11, 2001. He provided false information and obtained parole in December 2008 and was to return to the prison on February 7, 2009. He absconded and allegedly plotted the murder of retired Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) B B Ashok Kumar, but the plan did not materialise. The prison staff registered a case against him and managed to arrest him later.

There are several such incidents which happen in connivance with the prison staff. The staff receive some favours, fail to verify documents and grant the parole. Some of the prisoners, who are still at large, are involved in crimes like double murders, extortions and abductions. Those who are still at large should be arrested immediately, Ashok Kumar said.

The prison authorities are also conducting orientation sessions for prisoners, before granting them parole. “The inmates are warned that they may forfeit their chances of getting parole in future, if they fail to return on time,” Gagandeep said.