New Delhi [India], May 3 (ANI): Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to all the states and Union Territories as well as their prison authorities to take effective steps to prevent prisons from becoming breeding ground for anti-national activities.
For this, the Ministry, in an order issued on Monday, suggested conducting a regular inspection of prisons. The order also stressed on the need to take appropriate measures to strengthen security arrangements and implement effective administration in prisons.
In the order, which was issued on Monday to ACS and Principal Secretary (Home) of all states and UTs as well as Director-General or Inspector General (Prisons), it is directed that the inmates should be motivated to leave the life of crime and become responsible citizens of the nation.
In this order, the states and UTs are requested to expedite various measures for strengthening the prison administration and ensuring the security of prisons.
The states and the UTs have been suggested to strengthen and improve the medical facilities in jails in such a manner that reduces the requirement of referral of inmates outside the prison complex.
It is suggested that psychological assessment of inmates should be done by competent medical professionals to reduce depression in prison inmates and provide them with a positive outlook in life.
“Assessment of inmates by Psychologists and Correctional Experts may be done wherever necessary for studying the stress and behavioural issues of inmates and appropriate programs may be prescribed for them,” mentions the order.
The order stressed the need for training of prison and correctional staff pointing out that they play a significant role in the efficient management of prisons.
“States and UTs may identify and establish suitable training institutes for providing training to prison personnel on varied aspects of prisons and correctional administration on regular basis.”
The order advises that prison staff should be encouraged to make use of innovative methods for better prison administration and also be provided appropriate upskilling in this regard, and that “non-habitual criminals among the prisoners should be trained to impart training to other prisoners”.
To discourage complacency and corrupt practices in Prisons, the order emphasises that prison staff may be rotated on a regular basis. “Inter-Jail (and not Intra-Jail) transfer of Staff every two years is considered desirable.”
The order also suggests restricting the unnecessary movement of jail staff in and out of the jail and for which it says to maintain proper entry and exit registers of jail staff.
It points out that the jail structure and periphery wall of all jails should be inspected, and to the extent possible, “it may be ensured that the distance between the outer wall and wall of the jail ward or complex is designed in such a manner that incidents of throwing contraband items from outside the jail is not possible”.
It further asks to verify the background of NGOs involved with prison activities on a periodic basis, and that “appropriate oversight may also be kept on the literature available in prison libraries to ensure that inmates are not influenced negatively”.
The order later emphasises on ensuring effective jamming solutions with the use of modern-day advances in technology to restrict illegal access or use of mobile phones by inmates.
At the end, the order suggests that first time offenders and repeat offenders should be segregated and housed in separate wards or prison complexes with a view to ensure that habitual offenders are not able to negatively influence the first time offenders.
Giving the importance of prisons in the criminal justice system, the order also mentions it is the constant endeavour of the Government of India to share the latest guiding principles, best practices, directions of the Supreme Court and recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on efficient Prison Administration, with the states and UTs.
Referring to the Model Prison Manual 2016, forwarded to all states and UTs in May 2016, the order says it was also a step in this direction and was aimed at bringing uniformity in the basic principles governing the jails of the country.
“Despite constant follow up by the Ministry of Home Affairs, many states are yet to confirm the status of adoption of the Model Prison Manual, 2016 in their jurisdictions. (ANI)