Finally! Approval of new prison manual by Home Ministry
A complete change in the prison manual model has been brought up by the central government and this is undoubtedly one of the most significant decisions in recent years. The change in this prison manual model is solely focused on bringing uniform rules and regulations within administrations of prisons and the way prisoners are treated. It has been already approved by the home ministry. It cannot be denied that the prisoners are punished because of certain crimes committed by them but at the same time, we need to remember that a prison is a correctional facility that brings a change in the mindset and thought-process of a prisoner.
Ill-treatment for prisoners
In a lot of prisons, it has been observed that the prisoners are treated inhumanly and they are so ill treated that, instead of learning a proper lesson for committing a crime, they become more inclined towards it. Starting from a petty theft to a major crime, there are certain rules and administrations regarding the punishments given to such criminals. But, inside the prison, every individual prisoner is treated in the same way. This inflicts pain among the prisoners, instead of teaching them a new way to live their lives. This is the reason, it was really essential to modify the prison manual, in order to bring uniformity in rules within prison administration.
Offering legal services for prisoners
Now, let us delve deep into the legal modifications that have been incorporated into this new prison manual. The prisoners shall be provided with free legal services. This means, every prison shall have professional advocates who are going to visit periodically to offer legal literacy classes within prisons and also provide insight regarding the constitutional rights. The advocates shall also ensure legal services for undertrial prisoners, who already have undergone more than half of their maximum trial for the offence, have been added. In some scenarios, prisoners who opt for legal aids after completing a portion of their trial period is not added, which is really unfortunate for that person since he/she has to undergo that trial period again.
Health and safety for women
Another important modification that has been made within the new prison model is regarding the health and safety of women prisoner. Women prisoners in a lot of prisons are not at all safe. A lot of women are not able to bear the shock or trauma and face extreme depression. This is the reason, the new model comprises of comprehensive health screening for the women prisoners. The procedure of health screening includes tests for determining certain sexually transmitted diseases, mental or physical health concerns, blood borne diseases and also checking the existence of drug dependency. According to the reports, the concern for women health and safety has been drawn fromUN regulations that offer proper health and safety measures for women prisoners.
Provisions for death sentence prisoners
There are certain situations where a death sentenced prisoner faces extreme depression or traumatized situation within a prison. Fear of death can change a human being to a great extent. Thus, considering the emotional aspect of a death sentenced prisoner, there are certain provisions which have been included within the new prison model manual. Legal aid shall be provided to prisoners of death sentence at any stage irrespective of the rejection of mercy petition. It is really important for regular evaluation of the mental health and stability of the prisoners because a lot of them might lose mental stability; suicidal tendencies also develop in certain prisoners of death sentence. It is therefore essential to regularly check up the condition of them. To keep the prisoners in a stable mental and physical state mental health evaluations have been added within the revised new manual.
The prisoners who have been sentenced to death shall not be inhibited from furnishing necessary documents like judgments or court papers. And the prisoner shall be allowed a final meeting with his/her family.
Usage of innovative technology
The next change that has been implemented within the new prison model is the use of technology within jails. This was a real necessity inside the prisons to keep an eye on any activity or attempt made by the inmates. Certain CCTV cameras and many other innovative technologies have been permitted to be introduced within the prisons to check out each and every movement of the prisoners. Separate Personal Information System for tracking and recording information regarding prisoners. Any register that is being maintained by the prison authority needs to be in digital or electronic form. Digital records are automated and easy to maintain.
Educating to prevent gender issues and sexual violence
One major issue that was really necessary to modify was to sensitizing the staffs and impart training, regarding the gender issues and sexual violence. It cannot be denied that every prison is a witness of certain sexual violence and gender issues and certain problems were not being dealt for a long period of time. These issues inside prison became such that not even the law officials bother to take actions to prevent the prisoners. The rate of sexual assaults and gender discriminations were an increasing rate and this is the reason certain training shall be provided to the staff to prevent gender discrimination and sexual violence.
After care counseling
Certain after care counseling and treatment shall be provided to women prisoners so that they are able to live a normal life after they have served their sentence. Now this is a really vital factor that needs to be considered. A prison is a place where a person is punished for a crime he/she has committed, but at the same time, it is a place that should provide the correct path for an individual to lead a correct life. When an individual is released from a prison, especially for a woman, it becomes really difficult to deal with the guilt, shame and mental emotional stress she had to undergo in a prison. This after care and rehabilitation measures offer a strength and courage to a woman to re-integrate in the society.
Preventing certain punishments for women
It is really inhuman to order certain punishments for women especially a pregnant woman or a woman with an infant. For instance, solitary confinement imprisonment should not be awarded to such women. And this new prison model manual offers restriction in ordering such punishment to women. This new model also offer counseling sessions for women who have been victims of abuse so that further emotional damage does not take place on that woman. It has been strictly mentioned that it is the complete responsibility of the state to develop the rehabilitation and counseling sessions for the released convicts.
Provisions for legal services for poor
The manual provides certain regulations and chapters through which different mercy petitions are necessary to be submitted. The poor and weaker sections of our present society shall have free advocates legal services. On certain instances a prisoner belonging to a weaker section of our society or an economically weak background cannot appoint an advocate in their defense. Thus, it comes as a sigh of relief for such people. A specific committee has been set up for the aftercare of discharged prisoners and their rehabilitations facilities.
Juvenile prison provisions
Considering the juvenile prisons there are provisions for holistic development that includes food, healthcare, medical attention, education, clothing and also recreational facilities. It is one of the best amendments that have been made within the prison model manual. Because a child might have committed a crime by mistake, yes, we can say it was a “mistake” for a child. But treating the child like a prisoner makes him/her more inclined towards committing the same crime instead of making them realize what should be done and what not.
Offering educational facilities and medical attention within juvenile prison is an effective change. The recreational facilities developed for children shall comprise of pre-natal and post natal care for pregnant women, nutritional care for children, provision for clean drinking water, a well equipped crèche and nursery school so that the children can be looked after.
The organizational hierarchy that has been set up in the new prison manual focuses on training staffs and correctional wing. It engages staffs and professional counselors to treat mentally unstable prisoners with proper counseling t times of emergency. This provision is specifically for those who have been suffering from addictive disorders. It is a fact that a huge number of prisoners have been arrested for drug dealing and illegal activities. Extreme consumption and addiction to drugs bring certain changes within their body which craves for more and when they are not t all allowed it becomes really painful for the person to tolerate. Certain indications of physical and mental stress, needs immediate counseling and medical attention which shall be present after his amendment.
The prison inspection has been a new addition within this amendment. It offers both informal and formal inspection of the prison. The informal inspection is carried out regularly by senior prison officers. While the informal inspection comprises of certain aspects to be covered. Checking up medicinal facilities, hygiene maintenance of overall prison, security system, and mess facilities are all under formal inspection which is done at periodic intervals. The formal inspection is more vital because it helps in determining any existing issues that could pose a threat to the prison facility or the prisoners. This also ensures that the above features mentioned in the new model are followed accordingly or not.
|SL NO||Key provisions||A brief description|
|1.||Availing free legal services||Offering free advocates and legal services to the poor and weaker section of prisoners who cannot afford to pay for their own legal defense.
A legal clinic in each prison.
Offering legal literacy classes
Formatting an undertrial review committee to make sure that legal services are offered to prisoners who have undergone half of maximum ordered sentence.
|2.||Provision for women prisoners||Comprehensive health care and safety
Tests or detecting any blood borne and sexually transmitted disease
Mental health reports
|3.||Provision for death sentenced prisoner||Provision for attaining legal aid even the mercy petition has been rejected.
Regular mental stability check up and report.
Physical health report for certifying that death sentenced prisoner is in a stable physical condition.
Providing necessary documents like judgments and court papers
Arranging a final meeting along with family members
|4.||Modernization of prison||Encouraging the use of technology and software systems within the facility.
Introduction of personal information system.
Utilization of digital registers, CCTV cameras and innovative technologies.
|5.||Training towards gender issues and sexual assaults||Educating women on preventive healthcare and safety instructions.
Preventive instructions against sexual violence
Educational classes for staffs on gender biasness.
|6.||After care counseling and rehabilitation||The state is responsible for setting up after care counseling and rehabilitation for released individuals.
Formation of Discharged Prisoner’s after care rehabilitation committee for appropriate mechanisms to treat and assist emotionally unstable prisoners who are released recently.
|7.||Restriction of certain punishments to women||Pregnant women shall not be punished with solitary confinement.
Women with infants shall not be ordered similarly.
Counseling programs for women, especially those who are victims of abuse.
|8.||Provisions for children||Provision for food, medicinal attention, clothing, and recreational facilities.
Both pre-natal and post natal care for pregnant women offenders.
Nutritional requirements and clean drinking water.
A well equipped crèche and nursery to look after children.
|9.||Organizational uniformity||To educate staffs with professionally qualified counselors to treat needy prisoners in case of emergency.|
|10.||Inspection of prisons||Informal inspection by senior prison officers
Formal inspection by designated inspector officer