Free legal aid to poor prison inmates

22 Jan 2016 | By Achin Garg

The new Model Prison Manual approved by the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, provides for free legal aid to the inmates belonging to disadvantaged sections.

It aims at sensitizing jail staff regarding gender issues and sexual abuse.

The comprehensive manual allows a person sentenced for capital punishment to meet family members one last time and access legal services even after rejection of mercy petitions.

In context: Prison reforms

Background What is a prison manual?

According to the Indian Constitution, prisons and their administration is a state subject.

Hence, the state governments frame their own laws, rules and regulations relating to prisons.

To check the large scale variations in these laws, rules and regulations across states, the central government issues guidelines in the form of a model prison manual to bring homogeneity in them across states.

24 Jul 2014Overcrowding and security lapses in prisons

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General, majority of prisons are overcrowded in Gujarat.

Sabarmati prison has 150% more inmates than its capacity, Vadodra has 193% occupancy while Junagarh has 165%.

It also highlighted the poor health care facilities for inmates due to shortage of medical staff and equipment.

It also pointed to severe shortage of security staff and non-functioning of CCTV cameras.

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22 Jan 2016Free legal aid to poor prison inmates

22 Jan 2016Model Prison Manual

The new Model Prison Manual focuses on the responsibility of the State to provide services even after the discharge of prisoners such as rehabilitation, reintegration into society, etc.

It has special provisions for women prisoners including health check-ups, issues relating to mental ailments, drug addiction, etc.

It also provides for counseling to those suffering from psychological problems such as victims of sexual abuse, etc.