It could prove a good beginning leading to ensuring good behaviour by personnel of the jail police. A judicial magistrate has ordered the IG Prison Sindh to conduct an inquiry into allegations that the prison police take bribes to produce prisoners in comfortable conditions in court. The magistrate passed the order on a petition moved by a prisoner, and has asked the official to submit his report to him. The jail inmate has further claimed that 10 poor prisoners, tied together, are brought to court for hearing of their cases while those who pay money are brought in relatively better condition, and has sought the court’s help to get things remedied. The practice of tying several prisoners together is unadvisable especially in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Moreover, the country’s prisons are overcrowded. The federal ombudsman secretariat for jails in its latest quarterly report has said 88,687 prisoners are lodged in the country’s 116 jails against the sanctioned capacity 65,168. There are 1,399 female and 1,430 juvenile inmates. The number of under-trial prisoners is more than that of convicted prisoners, and the ombudsman office has asked provincial authorities to increase the number of accommodations in the existing jails and build new ones to overcome the problem of congestion in prisons. Of course the prison system in the country needs several reforms.
Prisons are a grim place for poor prisoners as they are not fairly treated there. They are supposed to be correctional places. Unfortunately, overcrowding and maltreatment of poor prisoners produce the contrary results. This produces the feeling of being overlooked because of their low socio-economic status. In jails, they come in contact with dangerous criminals, and this company exerts bad influence on petty and juvenile offenders. When they come out of prison they turn into hardened criminals. This is a bad state and needs to be changed by imparting education to prisoners and equipping them with skills. There is also the need for eliminating alleged discriminations in jails.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2021.
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