Jail conditions review makes range of suggestions
SRINAGAR: There is an overcrowding of male inmates in at least two of Kashmir’s main jails – of up to 65 percent – in Baramulla District Jail and Central Jail Srinagar, states the inspection report on the condition of jails, undertrials and convicts.
Advocate G R Tantray, who carried out the inpection, submitted in its report that on January 10, a jail visit was conducted at Baramulla and Srinagar. At District Jail Baramulla, it was found that as against the jail’s sanctioned capacity of 113 inmates, the present inmate lodgement was around 162. Of this, 153 were males and seven females, in addition to two minor children staying along with their mothers in the jail’s female barrack. Similar condition of inmates was found at Central Jail Srinagar.
Tanatry acts as an amicus curie in a public interest litigation on the condition of jails.
The report remarks that over-crowding has long been a regular feature of the jail system and suggests that the government raise additional barracks in the jail. It states that the over-crowding of prison inmates has a direct impact upon all services required for their use and continued sustenance, such as lavatories, bedding, flooring and food and shelter requirements.
The report further states that all the inmates of the jails, in particular the undertrials, voiced their grievance against the non-availability of guards to accompany their transportation to the trial courts where they have to attend hearings. The report suggests that every district jail must have its own guard/escort who is to be provided to the undertrials to reach the trial courts on the date of the hearing of their cases, or that a video-conferencing facility must be provided to undertrials for the speedy trial of their cases.
Medical facilities provided to inmates at both the Baramulla and Srinagar jails are not satisfactory, the report observed. In District Jail Baramulla, there should be a resident doctor to meet the inmates’ medical emergencies. Specialized treatment must also be provided to very sick inmates.
The report also suggests that convicts serving life sentences and public safety detainees should be lodged at their home district jails to avoid hardships to their families who come to visit them under the jail manual schedule. The inmates demanded that two days in a week should be fixed as visiting time for family members intending to meet the inmates.
The report states that foreign inmates be deported back to their countries as it was found that two nationals, one from Afghanistan and the other from Bangladesh, pleaded that they were not facing any trial but are yet to be deported back.
Lastly the report states that library facilities, sports activities and vocational centres be provided to the inmates.