Prison Reforms by Supreme Court
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 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.
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.
PEPPER IT WITH
Mulla Committee, The Prison Statistics India, Antarkranti, Preventive detention