Court calls for new prison reforms

Court calls for new prison reforms

The idea may sound Utopian but then a Delhi court has asked the government to consider such a model prisoner reformative system to de-congest jails and adopt a lenient view towards convicts who do not exhibit violent tendency.

The court said such a system was in fact working successfully at Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh, which could be adopted in a modified manner by the Delhi government.

“I am hopeful that the issue being high on the government agenda, the available options would be considered by NCT of Delhi at the earliest so as to enable the courts to explore alternatives of suspended/ limited imprisonment/ incarceration and of imprisonment in open prisons/ correctional institutions in appropriate cases,” Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said in a judgement. The court passed the judgment while pronouncing its sentence in the case of four youth convicted for inflicting injuries on their neighbours at Uttam Nagar area in 2006.

The judge referred to the “open prison” at Bilaspur, set up in 1960, where even murder convicts are permitted to re-integrate with the society by permitting them to work in offices, set up business or carry out other occupation. “I am informed that there are 32 open prisons existing all over the country, the oldest being in Himachal Pradesh which was set up in 1960,” he said.

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