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Need For Prison Reforms In India

"Prison reforms is process to change old systems, with the goals of rehabilitation by the way of change criminals into law binding citizen."-- Hinesh Rathod

There is no society without crime and criminal. Punishing the offender is primary function of civil society. Therefore, the objective of punishment can be achieved by imprisonment.

In many cases, prisoners come out jail as hardened criminal more than as reformed.

Therefore, we needed to change in entire systems such as old tradition, management activity, amenities system, and behavior of prison officers.

Why Prison Reforms is important?

There are many reasons for Prison reforms lets understand them in points:

  • Problem in India Prison:

    Prison overcrowding is one of the key contributions for poor prison condition, prolonged detention of under trial prisoners, inadequate of social and rehabilitation program, lack of legal aid availability for marginalized prisoner, lack of manpower and poor training, corruption, poor healthcare and welfare amenities, inhuman approach of prison staff among others.

    • The Bhagalpur (State of Bihar) refer to series incidents in India when police blinded 31 individuals under trial prisoners by pouring acid into their eyes.

    • On the 23rd 2017, a prison inmate, was brutally sexually assaulted to death reportedly by prison staff at Mumbai's Byculla jail.

    Improving Amenities
    Some of the prominent recommendation of Mulla committee are:
    • Improving prison condition by making available proper food, clothing, sanitation etc.
    • The focus must be on human rights of prisoners besides improving their amenities.
    • Undertrial in jails to be reduced to bare minimum and they be kept away from convicts.
    • The prison staff to be properly trained and organized.
    • The focus must be on Rehabilitation and reforming of offender.
    • The Government should make an effort to provide adequate financial resources.
      (The Mulla Committee)
  • Woman Prisoners:

    There should be necessary provision to restore the dignity of woman even if convicted under criminal code. Therefore, all prison officers should be woman in case of woman offender. (The Krishna Iyer Committee)
  • Open Prisons: (Open Prison System is a game changer)

    The concept of open prisons to provide better opportunity for reforming offender. There are no bars no uniforms. Prisoners go out for daily work like normal people do from their homes and return at the end of the day. Hence, we have to adopt this policy for pan India level. (5th National Conference on Prison Reforms 2016)

Law / Supreme Court ruling in protection of Prisoners Rights

  • In Hussainara Khatoon V. State of Bihar, The Supreme Court held that the detention of these prisoners was illegal as it completely violated the fundamental Right to Life and Liberty under Article 21 of Indian Constitution.
  • Charles Sabraj V. The Suptd., Central Tihar Jail 1978
    • Opined that imprisonment does not spell farewell to Fundamental rights.
    • Overcrowded Jails are a Violated of Human rights of prisoner guaranteed under article 21 of Indian Constitution
  • In the case Katar Singh V. State of Punjab, it was declared that right to speedy trials is an essential part of Fundamental right to life and liberty.
  • Article 14 (3)(C) of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), state that an accused has right to tried without undue delay.

International View on Prison Reforms:

  • The United Nation Standard minimum rules for the treatment of Prisoners (The Nelson Mandela Rules)
    The Rules are based on obligations to treat all prisoners with respect for their inherent dignity and values as human benign, and to prohibit torture and others forms of ill- treatment.
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Through various bodies have studies the problems of prison in India and law are made for improving in jail condition, it is a fact that many problems plague our prisons.

The mindset of prison staff must change. The management of prison must be marked by discipline and due regards to human rights of prisoners.

Prison reform is not just about prison building, but what goes on inside them that needs to be changed.

The focus must be on human rights of prisoners besides improving their amenities.

Bibliography / Reference:

    Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Hinesh Navratan Rathod
    Awarded certificate of Excellence
    Authentication No: AU222780645996-15-0822

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