Chennai: 6,000 inmates of Tamil Nadu jails were granted bail recently to prevent coronavirus spread, bringing down the present strength to half of the capacity, authorities said on Sunday.

More than 6,000 inmates, a big chunk of them are undertrials and remand prisoners, were released on bail from different prisons, they said.

As a result, the present strength of prisoners in 135 plus jails, including nine central and five special prisons for women, in the state is approximately 13,500 as against the authorised capacity of about 23,000, prison sources told PTI.

From as early as March, jail authorities, in association with the judiciary and police, began preparations to facilitate eligible remand prisoners and undertrials avail bail and convicts to go on leave.

"Considering the infrastructure and regulations in force, there has never been overcrowding in prisons in Tamil Nadu," an official said.

Duration of leave of those, who were let out of prisons before coronavirus cases surfaced in Tamil Nadu, was periodically extended and as of now, their leave is effective till June 1, sources added.

Those who returned after the expiry of their leave were given further extension and as and when prisoners applied for leave, their petitions were being processed expeditiously as per rules, they said.

To avoid the crowd of visitors, central prisons were also provided with smartphones and inmates make video calls to their family members.

In Tamil Nadu, there are also nine district jails, 85 plus sub-jails for men, eight for women and separate special sub- jails for both genders besides borstal schools and open-air prisons.