LAHORE: Punjab Ombudsman Javed Mahmood, on orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, has constituted Ombudsman’s Jail Inspection Committees for all districts and tehsils of the province, The Express Tribune has learnt. Members of the committees conducted their first inspection visitations to district and tehsil sub-jails on Thursday. They have been asked to file reports on the state of affairs in prisons in the Punjab to be submitted to the Supreme Court later.
According to the notification issued by the ombudsman, each committee, at the district level, comprises of a district jail superintendent, a district prosecutor, a representative of the DCO (an officer not below grade-18), the DPO or a representative not below grade-18, the Investigations SP, and a member of the District Bar Association. The committee will be headed by an adviser to the Punjab ombudsman.
Committees at the tehsil level comprise of an assistant commissioner, a sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), an Investigations DSP, a sub-jail incharge of the jail department, the public prosecutor of the sub-division and members of the tehsil bar association.
During their inspection visits, members of the Ombudsman Jail Inspection Committees have been asked to look into the prescribed duties, functions and responsibilities of the prison personnel, the regulatory and monitoring mechanism in place, the healthcare system and medical facilities for prisoners, the state of security, the state of discipline, the state of women and juvenile prisoners, difficulties faced by prisoners in jails, general issues faced by them during police investigation, and the Prosecution and Prison Departments with regard to early dispensation of justice.
The committees have been tasked with examining and submitting a monitoring and evaluation framework for measuring the quality-access, effectiveness and impact of public grievance redress mechanisms. The ombudsman has also notified district advisers to ombudsman as the focal people to provide redress with regards to district jails and tehsil sub-jails.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.