THE Union Home Ministry [MHA] has written to all state governments and Union Territories [UTs] to take effective steps in order to prevent prisons from becoming breeding grounds for anti-national activities. The MHA communication also calls for the verification of the background of the NGOs involved with prison activities on a periodic basis. Besides, it has also asked the state prison authorities to keep an appropriate oversight on the literature available in prison libraries to ensure that inmates are not influenced negatively. These suggestions were been sent to states/UTs on May 2 by Deputy Secretary rank officials in the MHA.
The MHA has also directed the states that first-time offenders and repeat offenders may be segregated and should be housed in separate wards/prison complexes with a view to ensure that habitual offenders are not able to negatively influence first-time offenders. It also says that medical facilities in jail hospitals may be strengthened and improved in such a manner that reduces the requirement of referral of inmates outside the prison complex.
“Psychological assessment of inmates by competent medical professionals may be encouraged to reduce depression in prison inmates and provide them with a positive outlook in life”, the MHA’s missive reads.
To discourage complacency and corrupt practices in prison, the MHA has suggested that the prison staff may be rotated on a regular basis. Inter-jail (and not intra-jail) transfer of staff every two years is considered desirable, as per the letter.
Last year, the MHA had asked the governments of states and UTs to review the existing practices and procedures governing the grant of parole, furlough and premature release to jail inmates so that the same was not abused and misused by them, and their advantage did not turn into disadvantage and nuisance for the society at large.