Modernised administration, Prison Act on MHA anvil - The New Indian Express

Modernised administration, Prison Act on MHA anvil

Published: 30th July 2013 09:05 AM

Last Updated: 30th July 2013 09:05 AM

Joint Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs S Suresh Kumar has said that the Ministry is working on the modernisation of prison administration and for a countrywide Prisons Act.

“We are working on a countrywide Prison Act as part of the modernisation, which has the core idea of a complete change in prison administration. It is on the anvil,” said Suresh Kumar, shortly after the convocation for the first batch of the Basic Course for Probation Officers organised by the Academy of Prison and Correctional Administration (APCA), here on Monday.

Twenty officers from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had enrolled in the first batch of the course, which started on May 2 this year.

The modernisation programme would not only look into the requirements of the prison in terms of infrastructure, but also for a system that will make the job of prison officials much easier and functional, he said and added that rehabilitation and probation formed the core part of the programme.

“The prison administration should also have a better information system about the prisoners. It should have alternative ways to keep small offenders away from the prison. It should also ensure reformation and keep track of the released prisoners,” he said.

Calling the prison manual a ‘vintage’ he said, “The prison system is very slow and is 50 to 60 years behind than any other system. It should be upgraded in a scientific way.”

He further said the Ministry had released a model prison manual in 2004, but several States had issues with it. Each State should have its own prison manual, he emphasised. Expressing concern on rising cyber crimes, he said there was a three to four per cent increase in cyber crimes every year, with many cases going unreported.

“In a country that has 90 crore mobile phone users, the rate of cyber crime is likely to increase,” he said.

Director of APCA M R Ahmed said rehabilitation would go a long way in bringing social justice in society. For instance, probation would  help keep offenders away from crime. “From ticketless travellers to roadside offenders, everyone is dumped in prisons. Prison is not meant for everyone and it is a bad place. It will take away the freedom and positive effects from the person. It is not good for society,” he added.

The UN has also strongly recommended that all countries had to implement probation as it had a positive outcome, he said.

Chief Probation Superintendent of TN P Thiyagarajan said TN had played a key role in probation. It is doing a commendable job in probation system. Under the aegis of Discharge Prisoners Aid Society, which was constituted in the early 90s, the then Madras Presidency had employed six probation officers.

Probation keeps rehabilitating the offenders and ropes in non-governmental organisations to provide them employment and financial aid, he said. In  TN, the society is helping the offenders’ wards to continue their education, he said.

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