Reform jails to help inmates

V. ESHWAR ANAND’s article, “Jails in a state of neglect: Political will needed for prison reforms” (June 26) was well documented. For the present pathetic condition of the inmates of the jails, rampant corruption and political patronage to money, mafia and muscle power are largely responsible.

Surprisingly, those having political patronage enjoy all the comforts of home in the jails. They can get anything to eat and drink. Reports suggest that some VIP convicts in New Delhi’s Tihar jail enjoy air-coolers to beat the heat. There is a general impression that one can get anything in the jail for a price.

However, no one cares two hoots about poor prisoners. Many cannot arrange money to go on bail or parole. Worse, most of the poor ailing inmates are not referred to good hospitals for the simple reason that they are not well connected. It is this differential treatment between the mafia and poor inmates that led to riots in the Bhopal jail, claiming many lives.


Unfortunately, even though many commissions have given good recommendations over the years, little has been done to reform the prison administration. There is a need to improve the condition of the inmates, both men and women. I endorse the view that a prison is not a hell but an institution of correction and reform.



Our British-oriented criminal justice system is so slow, cumbersome, costly and tortuous that dependents of the convicts after years of litigation and spending every penny have to lead a life worst than jail.

Most prisoners are poor, rendered physical wrecks in police remand during investigation and trial. The rich seldom go to jail. And even inside, the lucky few enjoy their incarceration with all comforts including cell phones, air-conditioners and home cooked food. The adage, ‘stone walls do not a prison make’ truly applies to them.

With the increase in the population and crime rate, there is a chronic dearth of space in the jails. Some prompt measures are needed to check the problem of overcrowding. What do the victims or their dependents gain from the confinement of their tormentors?

Nowadays, death or injury by accident or natural calamity fetches a few lakhs of rupees. The primitive system of keeping people in jails with the taxpayers’ money needs to be reviewed. Our traditional system of justice through panchayats in which the elders used to settle local feuds by imposing suitable fines to compensate the victims needs to be enforced.

S.S. BENIWAL, Chandigarh


Despite the hatred for the crime and criminals, one can’t help sympathise with the inmates of jails living in inhuman conditions, totally bereft of even basic amenities.

If we treat our criminals like this, there is little scope for any transformation. Besides, keeping them idle and not getting them engaged in any productive or corrective activity is sheer waste of manpower.

Of course, there is the problem of infrastructure. The Punjab government, instead of wasting its time on the politics of vendetta, might as well do something constructive. It must use its energies and resources to welfare projects which will enhance the quality of its jails, schools, colleges, hospitals, old age homes, homes for destitutes, bus stands and roads.



The Centre and the states should tackle the problem of overcrowding in the jails on priority. Not more than 2000 inmates should be accommodated in one prison. If there is no restriction on the strength, the prison will become unmanageable and little can be done about it.

The key to check overcrowding in the jails is the proper classification of various crimes and a more effective method of sentencing. More important, there should be speedy investigation, trial and disposal of the cases. Why should undertrials languish in the jails for years without trial? This is bound to paralyse the prison administration. The suggestion for a happy mix of amnesty and liberal bail procedure is eminently sensible.

It may not be proper for the religious organisations to supply good food in the jails as in Bangalore. Better they extend this kind of help to poor patients in hospitals than those in the jails.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana

Show him the door

The editorial “Forest-bound” (July 4) aptly calls a spade a spade. It rightly mentioned that the post of a Parliamentary Secretary is a sinecure and has been created just to adjust those who could not be accommodated in the Badal government in Punjab.

Undoubtedly, persons like Mr Harish Dhanda are while elephants and therefore need to be shown the door straight away for saving the taxpayers’ money being spent on their offices.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should boldly dispense with the redundant posts of Parliamentary Secretary and the like and deliver on the promises made during the Assembly elections more seriously. The sooner the better.

HEMA LANGERI, Hoshiarpur (Punjab)



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |