HC seeks corrective measures to improve prison conditions

Orders inquiry into conditions of jail in Mumbai, Yerawada prison in Pune

Written by Aamir Khan | Mumbai | Published: October 16, 2015 4:55 am
prison conditions, Yerawada jail, Bombay High Court, Arthur Road prison, Mumbai news The report highlighted inadequate security staff at Yerawada jail in Pune. (Express photo)

After examining a report that showed a ratio of 17:1 of women prisoners to toilets and no privacy in Pune’s Yerawada jail, the Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Mumbai sessions court to conduct an inquiry into the conditions of both the prisons and prisoners lodged at Mumbai’s Arthur Road prison and a women’s prison at Byculla.

The report, submitted by the additional district judge Pune, showcases a dearth in the most basic of human needs, leading to inhuman living conditions for inmates. Justices V M Kanade and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi read out from the report that the men’s prison can house 2,323 prisoners but in fact had 3,800 inmates having 2,887 of them at its main jail.

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“Obvious overcrowding of prisoners and the main jail the number of prisoners that are kept are almost double,” the court pointed out. Though the prisoners have 518 toilets, they are in deplorable condition. There are no bathrooms for all these men, forcing them all have a bath in the open. As on October 8 this year, there were 99 convicts lodged in the women prison besides 228 undertrials as opposed to the sanctioned capacity of 125 inmates. “Therefore, there is overcrowding,” the HC said.

The 327 women have a mere 19 toilets at their disposal. But those toilets require immediate repairs too, says the report. For all these women, there are two common bathrooms where 15 women take bath simultaneously, hence, no privacy.

The report, the HC observed, was silent on the quality of food. “Report says that the food is found to be properly cooked but it’s not mentioned if the food supplied is according to the prison manual,” the judges said.

In addition, the prison has 15 gangsters, resulting into a situation of serious threat. “Security staff is inadequate,” the HC said.

The report informs all these prisoners have only 15 windows to talk to their lawyers but there is a requirement of at least 30 windows. Sixteen children, the report reveals, are staying with their mothers inside the prison. “We would like to know if any arrangement is made to send them to school, if other female prisoners have any children who are not being looked after and also about the orphans who are in jail. Jail authorities should interview such women prisoners,” directed the court.

They further asked the government to examine the report and take initiative for maintaining and repairing toilets. “It should provide additional bathrooms and even making sure that male prisoners take bath in closed bathrooms. DGP prisons should file a report,” the HC ordered.  The high court order of October 1 had ordered for the report while hearing a public interest litigation resenting time deficiency during their meeting with prisoners.

aamir.khan@expressindia.com

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  1. B
    Bhaskar
    Dec 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm
    What is Jail? Why is a criminal to keep in jail? Once a person lived in jail he must pray god that he should never ever go to jail in his lifetime again, then only there is meaning of punishment and sending jail. Instead of improving Jail conditions and prisoner’s living conditions, jail and prisoners living standards must be worsened and changed, there must be different kind of jails for keeping a different kind of criminals. First of all, we have to understand, human rights are not for this kind of criminals, A human being will not rape 3 years old girl or human being will never kill her own baby and throw after delivery in a waste basket, these are Atman belongs to animals that possess the human body, they should be avoided from human rights. Once person is committed a crime he becomes criminal and he should not be allowed to live as normal life as a common man, he will have to live in jail and there his personal freedom is to be cut off , then only he will repent for his criminal deeds every minute he lives in jail, and there should not have any contact with any other criminals or person in jail and he must be put in a single room where he will get two time food that is to keep him alive.. Here Juvenile a place for keeping lesser aged criminals, once the boy or a girl goes there they come back with lots of criminal ideas as they get many friends there, so there must be a different kind of places where these peoples are allowed to stay. Many people those had power and position changed jail system to today's system, and now no one is afraid to go to jail. This happened because those authorities who changed jail system are relatives of criminals living in jails and they had power and they did changes. All living creatures are afraid of physical torture and finally death. This both can make human being obey others, now even school children are not afraid of teachers because teachers can’t do even small punishment to children. I surprised all old people who are rulers of this country now might have experienced punishment from teachers while they were studying, the same people are making law now. Mr.Modi Prime minister says mothers, if cook using firewood, their children gets sick as if his childhood there was cooking gas that is why he is healthy.
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