Women in Indian Prisons: Over Crowded jails, lack of sanitation, custodial incidents & shortage of doctors (Read Report)

A Ladies Prisoner in Tihar Jail

This analysis report reveals about the problem of women prisoners in India by a report submitted by Standing Committee on Empowerment of Ladies with Chair as Ms. Bijoya Chakravart on ‘Women in Detention and Access to Justice’ on December 22, 2017. 

The Indian Prison Act, 1894 is the major legislation for issues working with jail governance.  Other guidelines which include the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, also provide safeguards versus detention, torture, and other crimes during custody.  Important observations and tips of the Committee include things like:

Overcrowding of jails  

The Committee noticed that overcrowding of jails is a severe difficulty with women jails obtaining much more occupancy than potential.  As of December 31, 2015, the variety of inmates in central jails was 1,85,182 versus the authorised potential of 1,59,158.  This leads to the absence of basic facilities to prisoners this sort of as sanitation, meals, and health treatment in jails.  It has also direct to an raise in expenditure for jails.    

The Committee noticed that a single of the essential factors for overcrowding was the hold off in trials ensuing in many less than trials staying detained in jails for long durations.  A huge variety of these less than trials ended up petty criminals this sort of as drug offenders, ticketless travellers, and railway alarm chain pullers.  To solve this situation, the Committee advisable that option techniques need to be used for working with non-felony offenders and petty criminals.

Custodial excesses 

The Committee noticed that infringement of rights of prisoners as a consequence of law enforcement conduct during detention, was an important situation.  This included instances of rapes and deaths that have taken area in custody.  The Committee advisable that much better surveillance actions could be set in area to assure effective jail administration.  More, it advisable that there need to be increased interface with civil rights activists and their obtain to persons in custody.

Education and recruitment of officers

The Committee said that in order to assure gender sensitisation in jail administration, officers need to be provided teaching to create constructive attitudes in the direction of women prisoners.  More, the Committee advisable that workshops need to be executed to assure accountability in jail administration. 

The Committee also noticed that there was a shortage of women officers in jail administration, which adversely impacts the administration of women inmates.  In this regard, the Committee advisable that exclusive recruitment drives need to be initiated to fill up this sort of shortages.

Well being-treatment wants

The Committee noticed that data was not obtainable for frequent health conditions prevalent amongst women prisoners.  The Committee advisable that surveys be carried out across prisons, in collaboration with condition governments and NGOs, to compile this sort of data.  The Committee also noted that there was a shortage of medical professionals, para-healthcare personnel, and gear in jails.

Design jail manual

The Design Prison Handbook, 2003 was geared up with the aim of bringing uniformity in procedures governing jail administration across the state.  A revised Design Prison Handbook had been permitted in January, 2016.  The Committee noticed that no noteworthy actions ended up taken to assure implementation of the Design Prison Handbook, 2003.  More, it noticed that just after 13 several years since the passage of the manual, no impact assessment was executed on its implementation.  The Committee advisable that an impact assessment need to be executed about implementation of the two the Design Prison Handbook, 2003 and the new Design Prison Handbook, 2016. 

Overseas nationals

The Committee noticed that foreign prisoners are much more susceptible mainly because of factors which include: (i) absence of understanding of the trial procedure, (ii) absence of fantastic interpreters, and (iii) linguistic distinctions.  The Committee advisable that spiritual, nutritional, and non secular wants of foreign prisoners should be resolved by jail authorities.  More, it advisable that exclusive cells be made for working with foreign nationals in custody.

Access to justice

The Committee noticed that District Authorized Aid Societies (DLASs) are active in all districts and provide lawful aid to inmates.  The Committee advisable that DLSAs need to emphasis on giving lawful means to all courses of inmates, and particularly less than trials.  More, there need to be a concerted work to rope in lawful volunteers for assisting with drafting of apps, affidavits, and other lawful techniques.  The Committee also advisable that much more women attorneys need to interact with DLSAs to aid obtain for justice to women prisoners.

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