Prison Reforms in India
Committees for Prison Reforms in India
Justice Mulla Committee 1983
- Government should create an All India cadre for prison staff.
- Bring prison under the concurrent list.
- Government should form a National Policy on Prisons.
- Government to use alternatives to imprisonment such as community service, etc
Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer committee on women prisoners 1987
- Separate prisons with women employees alone for women offenders.
- Necessary provisions to ensure the dignity of women even after conviction.
Justice Amaitava Roy panel on prison reforms 2018
- Special fast-track courts should be set up in order to deal with petty offences.
- There must be at least one lawyer for every 30 prisoners.
- The Supreme Court should pass directions to initiate the recruitment process to fill vacancies
- Use of videoconferencing for trial must be encouraged.
- Every new prisoner should be granted one free phone call a day to his family members through his first week in jail.
- Alternative punishments instead of incarceration needs to be explored.
Need for Prison Reforms
- Prison Statistics India report of the National Crime Records Bureau has said that three out of four prisoners in Indian jails are undertrials.
- India prisons have an average occupancy ratio of 133% with Chhattisgarh (222.5%), Madhya Pradesh (208%), and Uttar Pradesh (168%) being the the most overburdened.
- India’s prisons are critically understaffed with having a vacancy ratio of 33%.
- The largest number of vacancies are found at the officer and correctional staff level.
What can be done
- The police forces can be made more sensitive and be trained in utilising emerging technologies.
- Technological solutions like biometrics etc could be leveraged to reduce trial time and hence reduce number of undertrials.
- The traditional policing mechanisms like foot patrols etc can be strengthened further to reduce the occurrence of crime.
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