NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court’s newly appointed committee for prison reforms will soon take charge to recommend solutions for problems plaguing the country’s jails. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently issued a notification for constitution of a three-member committee that will give suggestions to improve the condition of prisons, including ways of reducing overcrowding.
The committee, comprising retired Supreme Court judge Justice Amitava Roy, an inspector general of Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) and director general of Delhi’s Tihar jail, will start functioning from the BPRD office within a month, sources said adding that the committee will complete its task in a year’s time.
From examining issues of remission and parole to evaluating the availability of legal advice to prisoners, the committee will examine all aspects. On September 25, the top court had decided the members of this panel and had directed the Centre to take steps for constitution of the committee. The court’s judgment came on a letter from former CJI R C Lahoti highlighting the overcrowding in prisons, unnatural deaths of prisoners, gross inadequacy of staff and the lack of trained staff.
The panel will also look into the reasons for violence in prisons and correctional homes and recommend measures to prevent unnatural deaths and assess the availability of medical facilities in prisons and correctional homes and make recommendations accordingly.
It will assess the availability and inadequacy of staff in prisons and correctional homes, suggest training and educational modules for the staff and assess the feasibility of establishing open jails. The committee will further suggest steps for the psycho-social well-being of women prisoners and their children, including their education and health.
The committee will also review the implementation of Modern Prison Manual 2016 by all states and Union Territories.