News Excerpt
Recently, a Supreme Court panel provided several recommendations on the plaguing issue of status of prisons in India.

•    Prison forms the part of State subject under the constitution of India.
•    In 2018, the apex court had appointed a committee under the leadership of Justice Roy to look after multiple issues affecting the prison system in India.
•    There are several problems prisons in India faces such as:
o    Overcrowding
o    Unnatural deaths
o    Inadequate and Un-trained staff
o    Unavailability of proper legal advice.
o    Higher rate of suicide in prisons- NCRB data suggests average rate is 50% more than normal.
o    Poor hygiene and sub-human living conditions
o    Rampant violence and other criminal activities.  
o    Jails emerging as a University for grooming criminals.

Major Recommendations
    For every new prisoner, a free phone call to family member must be allowed in the initial first week.
    Modern cooking facilities
    Canteens for the purchase of essential items
    Speedy trial and Trial through video conferencing
    30:1 prisoner-lawyer ratio
    Special Fast-track courts to deal with petty offences

What can be done?
    There is need to bring structural reforms in order to address the issues of overcrowding and understaffing.
    Putting an end to the VIP cultures in the Jail as it makes them a heaven for politically connected criminals.
    Socio-economically disadvantage undertrials must be provided with proper and appropriate legal guidance.
    There is also a need to sensitize the prison staff about the Fundamental rights of prisoners, for this both states and Centre needs to play a more pro-active role.
    A robust Whistleblower protection act is also the need of the hour.

Mulla Committee, The Prison Statistics India, Antarkranti, Preventive detention