Before India got its independence Britishers were known to put Indians behind
bars where they tortured Indian freedom fighters. Even after 73rd years of
independence the prison system hasn’t changed a lot. They are still treated with
inhuman activities, unsanitary living conditions in jails and are often compared
to animals; this caused many losses of lives in the prison.
There are numerous cases of prison death in India and no legal action or a
proper investigation took place to know the actual cause of the death or degrade
in the health of prisons.
Unlike Lord Macaulay, Mahatma Gandhi believed in the human treatment of
prisoners rather than a deterrent one.
Article 21 which states Right To Life And Personal Liberty:
No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except
according to procedure established by law. Is guaranteed to every person under
the constitution of India. This right is given to the prisoners
The Nelson Mandela rule envisages certain rights of the prisoners such as right
to employment under article 23 and right to contact with the outside world.
This right is important as well as determining factor in the prisons because the
impact of prisons vary from person to person some people have a drastic effect
in other words negative effect on the prisoners they become threating or
frustrated rather than becoming a utilitarian member of the society.
In the recent years a new form of prison system came into existence known as
open or semi open prison system in India. Like the name suggests prisoners are
not locked up in the traditional jail settings as we have seen in real or reel
life but they are put up in settings where they are not often locked up in their
cells and are allowed to work in prison or outside prisons to earn a living.
This type of jails are for offenders who are considered low risk to people.
Usually they have committed petty offences or were present at a crime scene.
This often results that the person is charged with wrong allegations.
The central theme of this article is to see the prison and prisoners in a
different lime light and not always projected as a criminal who are unable to
The purpose of the criminal justice system is both to rehabilitee and to
punish but if we can rehabilitee somebody, that’s a huge, huge, win - Blake
Every person who commits a crime is deemed to punishment but this does not mean
that they have to repay it with their life thus they should be given second
The concept of open prisons was first developed in the UK in the 1930”s and was
based on the idea of ‘carrots’ rather than ‘sticks’
Open prisons were developed to rehabilitate prisoners who had almost completed
their sentence. In the earliest open prisons developed in the US in the 19th
century, prisoners nearing release were sent to work as labourers to evaluate
Earlier imprisonment was renowned as a simple form of penal punishment but the
system of minimum security in the open prison settings were considered modern
form of punishment. Many measures has been taken to lift the insufferable
condition as well as redefined prison administration.
The subject of open prison was larly discussed in the first United Nation
Congress On Prevention of Crime And Treatment of Offenders held in Geneva
1955. Second meeting was held in London 1960.
This strengthen the open prison institutions in angle-American prison system
Even our great sociologist Manu highlighted that even the hardest of the
hard offenders shouldn’t be punished indiscriminately, this can make the person
more dangerous to society. Effective and efficient measures should be taken to
make them law abiding citizens of the society.
In India open prison was established in 1953 in UP where housed prisoners were
requisition to construct a dam over the river Chandraprabha in Varanasi
Only 17 states have reported about the functioning of open jails in India. There
are currently 69 open jails. The highest numbers are in Rajasthan with 29 jails
and Maharashtra with 13 jails.
In Rajasthan more than 2,000 prisoners of 29 jails work as accountants, school
teachers, guards and domestic help. These are the same people who serve their
sentence for offences like murder, theft and trespassing.
Reduces overcrowding in jails: As both the hefty as well as petty
offenders are living under the same roof this causes overcrowding. Thus,
separating both has reduced the crowd.
Allowed to find employment: the prisoners in open jail settings are
allowed to find employment in and out of the prison this results boost in their
confidence and give them earnings.
Operational cost is reduced: As they are in open prisons they do not
required a lot of security and people to watch over them.
Self-development and socialization: they are allowed to socialized with
the outside world and can contact their family so they still be a part of the
society and don’t become a sociopath.
Everyone has different views about open prison system some are positive as well
as negative but the fact that we cannot ignore that it has become a part of new
prison system around the globe.
Sociologists as well as psychologists have seen improvement in the people
spending their sentence in the prison due to open prison system
There is no doubt as to the thought that ‘ help’ and ‘hate’ should be the
guiding principles underlying in the modern prison system.
Study of criminology describes various theories of punishment as such deterrent,
retributive, preventive but the most useful is considered as reformative theory
in this prisoners are transformed into law abiding citizens of the society. So
that after their release they can be useful to society and not a burden or
repeat offenders. This theory of punishment is considered to be new and most
Concepts like parole the temporary or permanent release of a prisoner before the
expiry of their sentence on promise of good behaviour.
Probation rehabilitation of offenders in the society.
These are also considered best form of reformative measures to reclaim peace in
society as well as to lower the crime rates.
lastly I would like to add as India is a developing country it would be better
that the citizens not only blame the justice system of India but do everything
in their power to stop crimes in the country.