Expressing serious concern over the plight of jail inmates, CPI(M) has stressed for immediate jail reforms in the state and making them as correctional homes instead of treating them as security centric centres. The conditions of the jails in the state are very miserable, unhygienic and are devoid of healthcare facilities. There was imminent need to address these serious issues and creating humane environment for the inmates in the jails. The jail administration is working under the ambit of the old and outdated Prison Acts and Jail Manuals, whose application has become obsolete in the context of present day situation. In a statement to KNS, CPI (M) senior leader and MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has said that a proper legislation was needed to update and amend the Prison Act for augmenting the facilities to the jail inmates to which they are entitled, whether being under trials or convicted. Amnesty International, National Human Rights Commission and various committees constituted from time to time have highlighted the unhygienic and inhuman environment of the jails suggesting for massive jail reforms. Unfortunately these suggestions have not been acknowledged and implemented by the successive governments at the centre as well as in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that in a state like Jammu & Kashmir, where the roll of jail inmates has been on the increase in view of the prevailing situations, the jail reforms should have been prioritized by way of infrastructure development, creation of man power and improving basic amenities in the jails and sub-jails. Overcrowding and mingling of jail inmates of varying natures has been cause of unethical practices, murders and deterioration of their health conditions, he said and demanded segregation of jail inmates in terms of sex and nature of crime. The environment in the jails should be such that they really prove to be reformative centres for the prisioners. Sometimes extra-judicial punishments are awarded to the undertrials and are devoid of legal aid that amounts to denial of justice, Tarigami said and suggested for establishing de-addiction centres, skill development centres, libraries and healthcare units for the undertrials in the jails. The jails should be humanized to the extent that a better environment is created for the inmates, enabling them to enjoy the dignity and the rights they are otherwise entitled to. He also advocated for opening of Legal Aid Clinics in the jails for providing legal aid to the jail inmates for ensuring speedy trials and dispensation of justice.
2015 Kashmir Despatch