Prison Reforms

Need  for Prison Reforms

• Over two-thirds of India’s prisoners are under trials despite the Section 436-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure stipulating that a prisoner shall be released on bail if he/she has undergone detention of half the maximum period of imprisonment specified.

• Lok adalats are not held regularly in prisons which are essential for disposal of petty offences for under trials.

• In many jails, overcrowding is over 150 per cent due to lack of sufficient capacity in prisons and presence of under trials.

•Medical facilities and general conditions of hygiene & food in the jails are not satisfactory.

•Counselling centers in prisons are inadequate which are important for young offenders and mentally sick prisoners who need special attention.

• There is no proper curriculum for education in many prisons due to which the prisoners fail to get decent jobs after their release.

• Shortage of Prison staff (around 30%) and poor training received by them renders the management of prisons ineffective.

•There is a lack of separate provision for women jails at many places. Also, there is shortage of female doctors for women prisoners.

•The court is also concerned about children who have to live in jail with their jailed mothers up to the age of six.

• Several states have not yet appointed the board of visitors who regularly inspect prisons to ensure
that they are being run in accordance with rules.

Way Forward

•Provide free legal aid for those who can’t afford it. This will help prisoners in understanding their legal rights and legal procedure about filing appeals.

•Sensitization programs and training sessions should be conducted regularly to check hygiene and control health problems in prisons.

• To minimize the incidents of jail wars or fights between inmates, proper security arrangements should be deployed through the optimal use of ICT.

• Recruit more psychologists to understand the mental condition of prisoners and to reform them.

•Offer futuristic job-oriented courses to prisoners which could provide them a decent life after serving the prison term.

•There should be regular and periodic training of personnel who deal with inmates to improve jail administration.

• Shift the subject of ‘prisons’ from state list to concurrent list for achieving uniformity across the nation in formulation and implementation of prison provisions.

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