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R K Sharma suggests 36 changes to Tihar

Ravi Kant Sharma,who is serving a life sentence in Tihar Jail for the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar,has written a six-page letter to authorities at Tihar regarding reforms at the jail.

Written by Neeraj Chauhan | New Delhi |
March 18, 2009 12:24:18 am

Ravi Kant Sharma,who is serving a life sentence in Tihar Jail for the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar,has written a six-page letter to authorities at Tihar regarding reforms at the jail.

Sharma,the first IPS officer to serve a life term,has also served as Inspector General (Prisons),Haryana. In his letter he has put forward 36 detailed suggestions for the well being of prisoners and improved conditions in the jail.

These include a PCO booth inside the jail for the use of prisoners,coaches from outside for sports,minimal lock-up hours,a semi-open jail,round-the-clock stress buster TV channels,Western toilets,laundry and a special smoking area.

A source in Tihar said they received these suggestions from Sharma last month. “The suggestions are new and very reformative. Many are luxurious enough to make prisoners feel they are not in jail,” the source said. When contacted,Tihar Jail PRO Sunil Gupta said,“We are examining these suggestions but a decision has not been taken yet.”

Sharma is lodged in jail no.1. His first suggestion is that jail authorities should lift restrictions for meetings with relatives. He suggests prisoners have access to a PCO inside the jail so they can talk to their dear ones regularly. Another suggestion he has made is having legal consultation arrangements and meetings with counsels on Saturdays and Sundays too.

Sharma wants Tihar to introduce a “professional mulaqat system” where professionals from various fields come to the jail a few times a week and meet the prisoners.

He says existing rules related to remission are unconstitutional and they should be more compassionate. Sharma also suggests the power to grant parole should be given to superintendents of jails. As of now,the Lieutenant-Governor is empowered to give parole.

Regarding accommodation,he suggests lights should be switched off in the wards at night. Sharma wants tables and chairs,dining tables,almirahs,and clothes etc for the prisoners. He suggests prisoner accommodation be segregated ward-wise. “He says that prisoners lodged for crimes under MCOCA,hardened criminals,educated criminals,juveniles and women should be kept in different wards,” the source said.

Sharma would like a coach for various sports like hockey and football from outside. “He says that if a Thailand jail can produce world champions then why can’t Tihar?” the source said.

Sharma wants that prisoners be locked up inside their wards for only a few hours at night. For the better education of prisoners,Sharma suggests experts from institutes like Indian Training Institute (ITI) and from agricultural and technical fields come to Tihar and provide vocational training to prisoners.

Sharma has also suggested a better inter-state transfer system,wages for prisoners at the current government rate,free legal aid,plea bargaining facility every month,tele-medical facilities,participation of prisoners in decision making,showers in baths,pre-mature release,and allowing outside eatables inside jail,among others.

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