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Prison Development in India

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Crime is the outcome of a diseased mind and jail must have an environment of hospital for treatment and care. – Mahatma Gandhi A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and usually deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime. Prisons are not normal places. The prisoners are deprived of freedom and normal contacts with families and friends. The deadening disciplines, fear, helplessness which are inherent in the prison system produce mental stagnation.

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The emotional and material deprivations cause frustration. Prison is a State subject under List-II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. The management and administration of Prisons falls exclusively in the domain of the State Governments, and is governed by the Prisons Act, 1894 and the Prison Manuals of the respective State Governments. Thus, States have the primary role, responsibility and authority to change the current prison laws, rules and regulations.

And Central government providing assistance to the States to improve security in prisons, repair and renovation of old prisons, medical facilities, development of borstal schools, facilities to women offenders, vocational training, modernization of prison industries, training to prison personnel, and for the creation of high security enclosure. In its judgments on various aspects of prison administration, the Supreme Court of India has laid down three broad principles regarding imprisonment and custody. Firstly, a person in prison does not become a non-person;

Secondly, a person in prison is entitled to all human rights within the limitations of imprisonment; and, Lastly there is no justification for aggravating the suffering already inherent in the process of incarceration. Therefore statistical information on prison administration play an important role in assessing the various parameters of prison administration and realized need of data-driven policy interventions and evolving correctional/remedial strategies. When a person is detained by police and sent to judicial custody or he get the punishment, the place where they are kept is called prison, and these persons are called prisoners.

Only in the 19th century, beginning in Britain, did prisons as known today become commonplace. The modern prison system was born in London, influenced by the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham. Objective of Prisons As early as in the year 1920, the Indian Jails Committee had unequivocally declared that the reformation and rehabilitation of offenders was the ultimate objective of prison administration. This declaration subsequently found its echo in the proceedings of various Prison Reforms Committees appointed by the Central and State Governments of the international influences.

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, formulated in 1955, provides the basic framework for such a goal. The international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, propounded by United Nations in 1977, to which India is a party, has clearly brought out that the penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and social rehabilitation. It is, however, seen that whereas India is second to none in terms of an enlightened thinking with regard to the purpose and objective of imprisonment, the gap between proclaimed principles and actual practices ppears to have been widening in recent years.

CHAPTER 2 HISTORY OF EVOLUTION & REFORMATION OF JAIL IN INDIA Broadly speaking, the existence of prisons in our society is an ancient phenomenon since Vedic period where the anti-social elements were kept in a place identified by the rulers to protect the society against crime. Prisons’ were considered as a ‘House of Captives’ where prisoners were kept for retributive and deterrent punishment. Before the 1700’s, governments seldom imprisoned criminals for punishment. Instead, people were imprisoned while awaiting trial or punishment.

Common punishments at that time included branding, imposing fines, whipping, and capital punishment (execution). The authorities punished most offenders in public in order to discourage other people from breaking the law. However, English and French rulers kept their political enemies in such prisons as the Tower of London and the Bastille in Paris. In addition, people who owed money and defaulted on payments were held in debtors’ prisons. In many such cases, offenders’ families could stay with them and come and go as they pleased. But the debtors had to stay in prison until their debts were settled.

During the 1700’s, many people including British Judge Sir William Blackstone criticized use of executions and other harsh punishments. As a result, governments turned more and more to imprisonment as a form of punishment. Early prisons were dark, dirty and overcrowded. They locked all types of prisoners together, including men, women, children, dangerous criminals, debtors and the insane. The British reformer John Howard toured Europe to observe prison conditions. His book The State of the Prisons in England and Wales (1777) influenced the passage of a law that led to the construction of the first British prisons designed partly for reform.

These prisons attempted to make their inmates feel penitent (sorry for doing wrong) and became known as penitentiaries. In 1787, a group of influential Philadelphians, mostly Quakers, formed the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons (now the Pennsylvania Prison Society). They believed that some criminals could be reformed through hard work and meditation. The Quakers urged that dangerous criminals be held separately from nonviolent offenders and men and women prisoners be kept apart. These ideas became known as the Pennsylvania System, and were put into practice in 1790 at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Jail.

This prison is considered the first prison in the United States. The Pennsylvania System was the first attempt to rehabilitate criminals by classifying and separating them on the basis of their crimes. As a result, the most dangerous inmates spent all their time alone in their cells. In time, however, the system failed, chiefly because overcrowding made such separation impossible. During the eighteenth century, New York prison officials developed two major systems of prison organization—the Auburn System and the Elmira System.

The Auburn System, introduced at Auburn (N. Y. Prison in 1821, became widely adopted. Under this system, prisoners stayed in solitary confinement at night and worked together during the day. The system emphasized silence. Prisoners could not speak to, or even look at one another. Prison officials hoped that this silence and isolation would cause inmates to think about their crimes and reform. They believed that the prisoners’ spirit must be broken before reform could take place. However, the system failed partly because the rigid rules and isolation drove inmates insane. The contemporary prison administration in India is a legacy of the British Rule.

Lord Macaulay, while presenting a note to the Legislative Council in India on December 21, 1835, for the first time, pointed out the terrible inhumane conditions prevalent in Indian prisons and he termed it as a shocking to humanity. He recommended that a committee be appointed to suggest measures to improve discipline in prisons. Consequently, on 2nd January, 1836, a Prison Discipline Committee was constituted by Lord William Bantick for this purpose. Sir John Lawrence, a renowned jurist, again examined the conditions of Indian prisons in 1864.

Consequently Second Commission of Enquiry to look into prison management and discipline was appointed by Lord Dalhousie. The commission in their report did not dwell upon, the concept of reformation and welfare of prisoners. It, instead, laid down a system of prison regimentation occasioned with physical torture in the name of prison discipline. However, the commission made some specific recommendations in respect of accommodation, diet, clothing, bedding, medical care of prisoners only to the extent that these were incidental to discipline and management of prisons and prisoners.

A Conference of Experts was held in 1877 to inquire into the prison administration in detail. The conference resolved that a Prison Law should be enacted which could secure uniformity of system and to address such basic issues which were to be reckoned for deciding term of sentence. In pursuance to the resolution passed in this conference, a draft Prison Bill was actually prepared but finally postponed due to unfavourable circumstances. The Fourth Jail Commission was appointed by Lord Dufferin in 1888 to inquire into the prison administration.

This commission reiterated that the uniformity could not be achieved without the enactment of a single Prisons Act. Again, a consolidated Prisons Bill was prepared providing some rigorous prison punishments such as gunny clothings, imposition of irons on hands and feet, penal diet, solitary confinement and whipping. This Bill was circulated to all local Governments by the Home Secretary to the Government of India on 25th March, 1893 with a view to obtaining their views. It was later presented to the Governor General in Council and ultimately Prisons Act of 1894 came into existence which is the current law governing anagement and administration of prisons.

It has remained into force for over 112 years including 58 years after our independence. It has hardly undergone any substantial change during all these years despite lot of new thinking having emerged respecting objectives, management and administration of prisons. However, the Constitution of India which came into force in 1950 retained the position of the Government of India Act, 1935 in the matter of prisons and kept ‘Prisons’ as a State subject by including it in List II—State List, of the Seventh Schedule (Entry 4).

The first decade after independence was marked by strenuous efforts for improvements in living conditions in prisons. A number of Jail Reforms Committees were appointed by the State Governments, to achieve a certain measure of humanization of prison conditions and to put the treatment of offenders on a scientific footing. While local Committees were being appointed by State Governments to suggest prison reforms, the Government of India invited technical assistance in this field from the United Nations. Dr. W. C. Reckless, a U. N.

Expert on Correctional Work, visited India during the years 1951-52 to study prison administration in the country and to suggest ways and means of improving it. His report ‘Jail Administration in India’ is another landmark document in the history of prison reforms. He made a plea for transforming prisons into reformation centres and advocated establishment of new prisons. Some of the salient recommendations made by Dr. W. C. Reckless are as under :- 1) Juvenile delinquents should not be handed over by the courts to the prisons which are meant for adult offenders. ) A cadre of properly trained personnel was essential to man prison services. 3) Specialized training of correctional personnel should be introduced.

4) Outdated Prison Manuals be revised suitably and legal substitutes be introduced for short sentences. 5) Full time Probation and Revising Boards be set up for the after-care services and also the establishment of such boards for selection of prisoners for premature release. 6) An integrated Department of Correctional Administration be set up in each State comprising of Prisons, Borstals, Children institutions, probation services and after-care services. ) An Advisory Board for Correctional Administration be set up at the Central Government level to help the State Governments in development of correctional programmes. 8) A national forum be created for exchange of professional expertise and experience in the field of correctional administration. 9) A conference of senior staff of correctional departments be held periodically at regular intervals. The year 1952 witnessed a significant break-through in national coordination on correctional work as in that year the Eighth Conference of the Inspectors General of Prisons was held after a lapse of 17 years.

In pursuance to the recommendations made by the Eighth Conference of the Inspectors General of Prisons and also by Dr. W. C. Reckless, the Government of India appointed the All India Jail. In pursuance to the recommendations made by Dr. W. C. Reckless and also by the All India Jail Manual Committee, the Central Bureau of Correctional Services was set up under the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1961 to formulate a uniform policy and to advise the State Governments on the latest methods relating to jail administration, probation, after-care, juvenile and emand homes, certified and reformatory schools, Borstals and protective homes, suppression of immoral traffic, etc. ; In 1972, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, appointed a Working Group on Prisons which presented its report in 1973. This Working Group brought out in its report the need for a National Policy on Prisons. Its salient features are as under:

– 1) To make effective use of alternatives to imprisonment as a measure of sentencing policy. 2) Emphasized the desirability of proper training of prison personnel and improvement in their service conditions. ) To classify and treat the offenders scientifically and laid down principles of follow-up and after-care procedures. 4) That the development of prisons and the correctional administration should no longer remain divorced from the national development process and the prison administration should be treated as an integral part of the social defence components of national planning process. 5) Identified an order of priority for the development of prison administration. 6) The certain aspects of prison administration be included in the Five Year Plans. )

An amendment to the Constitution be brought to include the subject of prisons and allied institutions in the Concurrent List, the enactment of suitable prison legislation by the Centre and the States, and the revision of State Prison Manuals be undertaken. In 1964, the Central Bureau of Correctional Services was transferred from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the newly created Department of Social Security, now known as Department of Social Justice and Empowerment under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

However, the Bureau continued to be attached to the Ministry of Home Affairs for various matters concerning prison administration and reforms. Its Director was latter designated as Ex-officio Prison Advisor. In 1971, the Bureau was re-organized into the National Institute of Social Defence to review policies and programmes in the field of Social Defence. The Government of India convened a Conference of Chief Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories on April 9, 1979, in order to assess the gaps in the existing prison management system and to lay down guidelines for standardization of prison conditions throughout the country.

This Conference made a detailed examination of the issues pertaining to prison administration and on the basis of the consensus arrived at the Conference, the Government of India requested the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations:- 1) to revise their prison manuals on the lines of the Model Prison Manual by the end of the year; 2) to appoint Review Committees for the undertrial prisoners at the district and state levels; 3) to provide legal aid to indigent prisoners and to appoint whole time or part-time law officers in prisons; ) to enforce existing provisions with respect to grant of bail and to liberalize bail system after considering all its aspects ; 5) to strictly adhere to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973, with regard to the limitations on time for investigation and inquiry; 6) to ensure that no child in conflict with law be sent to the prison for want of specialized services under the Central Children Act, 1960.

7) to have at least one Borstal School set up under the Borstal Schools Act, 1929 for youthful offenders in each State; ) to create separate facilities for the care, treatment and rehabilitation of women offenders; 9) to arrange for the treatment of lunatics in specialized institutions; 10) to provide special camp accommodation under conditions of minimum security to political agitators coming to prisons; 11) to prepare a time bound programme for improvement in the living conditions of prisoners with priority attention to sanitary facilities, water supply, electrification and to send it to the Ministry of Home Affairs for approval; 2) To develop systematically the programmes of education, training and work in prisons; 13) To strengthen the machinery for inspection, supervision and monitoring of prison development programme and to ensure that the financial provisions made for upgradation of prison administration by the Seventh Finance Commission are properly utilized;

14) To organize a systematic programme of prison personnel training on State and Regional level; 15) To abolish the system of convict officers in a phased manner; 6) To mobilize additional resources for modernization of prisons and development of correctional services in prison; 17) To set up a State Board of Visitors to visit prisons at regular periodicity and to report on conditions prevailing in the prisons for consideration of the State Government; 18) To examine and furnish views to Government of India on proposal for setting up of the National Board of Visitors. The Government of India has constituted an All India Committee on Jail Reforms under the chairmanship of Mr Justice A. N.

Mulla in 1980 the committee submitted their report in 1983. This committee examined all aspects of prison administration and made suitable recommendation respecting various issues involved. A total of 658 recommendations made by this committee on various issues on prison management were circulated to all States and UTs for its implementation, because the responsibility of managing the prisons is that of the State Governments as ‘Prisons’ is a ‘State’ subject under the List II— State List of the Seventh Schedule (Entry 4) of the Constitution of India.

The Committee has also suggested that there is an immediate need to have a national policy on prisons and proposed a draft National Policy on Prisons. Thereafter, Government of India has constituted another committee on 26 May, 1986, namely, National Expert Committee on Women Prisoners under the chairmanship of Justice Krishna Iyer who has submitted its report on 18 May, 1987. This report has also been circulated to all States for taking necessary follow-up action.

In pursuance to the recommendations made by the All India Committee on Jails Reforms, the Government of India identified Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D) as a nodal agency at the national level in the field of Correctional Administration on November 16,1995. In pursuance to the directions given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in a case of Ramamurthy Vs. State of Karnataka, 1996, the Government of India has constituted All India Model Prison Manual Committee in November, 2000 under he chairmanship of Director General of BPR&D to prepare a Model Prison Manual for the Superintendence and Management of Prisons in India in order to maintain uniformity in the working of prisons throughout the country. Government of India has constituted a high powered committee under the chairmanship of Director General, BPR&D for drafting a national policy paper on Prison Reforms and Correctional Administration on 1st December, 2005. And this committee is involved in studying the status of prisoners and to find out the necessary measures in order to reform the prisoners.

Cite this Prison Development in India

Prison Development in India. (2016, Oct 02). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/prison-development-in-india/

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