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MP High Court directions on issue of overcrowding of prisons in the State.

PRISON
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A PIL was registered on suo motu cognizance taken by this Court on  the overcrowding situation of prisons of the State affecting both under-trial and convicted prisoners, particularly as all the prisons/jails in the State were having more than double the prisoners against their capacity and were therefore needed to be immediately decongested.

Various orders have been passed from time to time for grant of parole to the convicts and temporary bail to the under-trial prisoners.

Mr. Sankalp Kochar, learned Amicus Curiae has submitted a detailed note containing several suggestions for improving condition of the prisons in the State vide IA-5007-2021, many of which are based on the judgment of the Rajasthan High Court in DB Civil Writ Petition (PIL) No.2808/2012 (Suo Motu vs. State of Rajasthan and others) dated 27.01.2016 and also on the basis of inputs received from various reports of the National Crime Report Bureau, recommendations of Mulla Committee Report, 1983,report of All India Committee on Jail Reforms 1980-83 and Model Prison Manual, 2003.

The court asked for submission of report  about the position of the prisons in the State on the following aspects before the next date fixed in the matter:

A. SANITATION:-

Whether barracks, toilets bathing facilities at the jail campus are regularly cleaned? Whether filth and garbage is regularly removed from the jail premises? Whether the prisoners or inmates are provided lockers or shelves for keeping their belongings?

B. FOOD:-

Are there sufficient appliances and utensils available in the kitchens? What is the quality of food? What is served to the prisoners during breakfast, lunch or dinner? Whether prisoners are served with sweets on any given day of the week? Are there any trained cooks?

C. HEALTH CARE:-

What is the condition of medical health and care of prisoners? What are the diseases commonly prevalent in jails, such as epilepsy, tuberculosis, skin disorders etc.? Are there sufficient number of medical officers? Are there sanctioned posts of

psychologist, psychiatrists, pharmacists, sufficient nursing

staff? Are there basic facilities of diagnosis and investigation.

D. RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES:-

Are there libraries in the jails and, if so, are they having

sufficient books, novels, magazines and newspapers? Are there

sufficient number of newspapers, magazines provided in each

barrack? Whether movies or films are periodically shown to the

inmates?

E. EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES:

What are the arrangements for holding adult educational

classes? Whether educated prisoners are engaged in taking

classes for illiterate or semiliterate prisoners?

F. VOCATIONAL ACTIVITIES:-

What are the vocational activities, in which the prisoners especially those convicted with rigorous imprisonment, are carried out? What are the rates at which the prisoners are paid on daily wages basis and how commensurate they are with the minimum wages prescribed by the State for skilled, semiskilled or unskilled labour?

G. INFRASTRUCTURE:-

What are the number of barracks and capacity of each barrack. How many prisoners are actually lodged in such barracks so as to find out the extent of overcrowding, if any? Whether facility of CCTV cameras is available with different barracks of the jails?

H. WELFARE:-

What are the facilities available for the meeting between jail inmates and their family members and for how many times a prisoner is allowed to meet with or talk on telephone to his family members in a month?

All Superintendents of Central Jails and District Jails were directed to provide logistic support and full cooperation to the team of the Member Secretary, District Legal Services Authority and the Chief Judicial Magistrate for carrying out the aforesaid inspection.

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