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The New Model Prison Manual has received approval by Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh.
The 32 chapters have certain key revisions:
■ A final meeting between a convict on death row and his family has to be arranged by the prison authorities.
■ Procedures to file mercy petitions along with the channels through which the rejections are to be communicated to the convict and his family, the documents which are required and final judgments.
■ Free legal aid to prisoners who have been awarded death sentence, even if their mercy petitions have been rejected.
■ Regular monitoring of physical and mental health.
The aim of the revisions in the manual is to bring about “basic uniformity in laws, rules and regulations governing the administration of prisons and the management of prisoners all over the country”.
Jail mates belonging to poor and weaker sections of the society are to be provided free legal services to inmates, advocates visiting jails have to be appointed, a legal aid clinic has to be set up in every prison, legal literacy has to be provided through classes in prisons, under trial review committees have to be set up so that those who have finished half of the maximum sentence for a particular offense are provided legal aid.
The State has been charged with the responsibility to devise and develop mechanism for rehabilitation of released prisoners. For this discharge prisoner’s aftercare and rehabilitation committees should be set up at state or district level.
Women prisoners are to be provided with comprehensive health screening to determine whether they have sexually transmitted or blood-borne diseases, concerns regarding mental health or dependence on drugs.
Gender sensitive training needs to be provided to jail staff and preventive healthcare measures have to be taught to women inmates. If someone suffers from psychological disorders they have to be provided with counseling and treatment. Their reintegration into society needs to be taken care of.
Solitary confinement cannot be awarded to women who are pregnant or with infants. Victims of abuse have to be provided with counseling programmers so as to prevent further damage through confinement.
The Logical Indian community applauds the revisions made in the New Model Prison Manual with special focus on provision of free legal aid, healthcare facilities and rehabilitation mechanism to the prisoners. We hope that this modus operandi to provide social and gender sensitivity to the inmates do not remain on paper and are implemented as soon as possible.