According to the state prison department, 1,043 prisoners and 302 jail staff have tested positive for coronavirus across Maharashtra.
Out of all the infected patients, 800 have recovered till now and 18 prisons are now free from COVID-19 cases.
One of these prisons includes Arthur Road Prison which is considered to be in the list of the most over-crowded prison cells in the country. The inmates have signed up to donate plasma after recovering from the disease.
The increasing cases of COVID-19 in Arthur Road jail was a major cause of concern as the prisoners could not be moved to the hospital. Transferring patients from prisons to hospitals created logistical challenges in the middle of a pandemic.
Other prisons in the state, Yerwada Prison in Pune, Sangli District Prison and Nagpur Central Prison also initially reported a high number of coronavirus cases.
The authorities decided to set up isolation centres within the prison to take in control the pandemic. Inspector General of Prisons, Deepak Pandey visited major jails in the area to counsel prisoners and inquired the problems being faced by them while staying in isolation.
The prisoners were segregated and given masks and sanitizers in order to keep themselves safe.
"As of today, we have zero Covid cases in Arthur Road jail which happens to be the most overcrowded jail in the entire country. Its official capacity is 840 and at one point of time we had 3,700 inmates," NDTV quoted Deepak Pandey.
With the crowded prison cell in the state, it is very difficult to ensure social distancing inside prisons. The lack of fund allocation for treating COVID-19 patients is another major issue faced by the prison department. All those who have recovered from infections want to donate plasma.
The prison officials said that the relationship between staff and prisoners has improved as they had come together to fight the pandemic. The current situation has made them realize their responsibilities towards society.