No reforms in the den of vices

Senior officers of both the police and the prisons department lament the absence of prison reforms. Rampant corruption is seen as the main reason for the lack of reform initiatives. Sources reveal that many inmates get the kind of food they want, women and liquor. They bribe the staff and enjoy all the comforts. Several of them get to go out of the prison freely in the evening. The prison staff, who escort the inmates to courts,
allegedly ensure the prisoners get sufficient time to enjoy the pleasures of life.

Sources say some of the staff members allegedly get thousands of rupees for such favours. A few inmates were even caught atop a court hall while they were with women, reveals Natesh (name changed), a reformed rowdy, who now operates a fleet of school vans.

Some prisoners, it is learnt, spend several lakhs of rupees a month to enjoy all the comforts. Many among the prison staffers are believed to receive bribes to ensure the comforts. That is the reason why some notorious rowdies freely use cellphones inside the prisons, discloses the reformed rowdy.

Rowdy elements inside the prison are also reported to have forced some undertrials into unnatural sex. Condoms are often found in waste bins and near the cells. Victims of such activities become more violent and retaliate once they are out of the prison, observes another reformed rowdy.

Here’s a classic example of corruption inside the prisons: A woman advocate was sent to the prisons in a sensational murder case. A few months later, a doctor was imprisoned for a similar offence. Both of them reportedly fell in love and used to spend intimate moments thanks to the prison staff’s lenience, said a senior police officer. Reform initiatives are virtually absent. Some initiatives such as plays and yoga classes have not had the desired results. Nothing could be achieved as the prison staff did not show proper involvement, the officer notes.

Separate departments

The police and prisons are two separate departments. The police staff get a lot of exposure to the background of the criminals and circumstances which force them to commit crimes, while the prison staff work within the four walls. This is one reason why more police officers take up reformation initiatives.

Creating awareness about reforming inmates among the prisons staff can go a long way in improving the situation, analyses DySP, Internal Security, BB Ashok Kumar, who has reformed several rowdies in the City.

Reformation a critical need

“Anger is the main cause for nearly 15 per cent of the crimes. Many times, those who commit crimes are innocent. However, they are forced to be behind bars for nearly 10 years. They can definitely become good citizens,” says Ashok Kumar, who reformed Corporator and Karnataka Film Producers’ Association President Muniratnam Naidu, Jairaj’s associate Rajashekhar and Deadly Soma’s close aide Satish.

“Reforming one criminal is equivalent to preventing 100 people from becoming criminals. There are several limitations for the police officers as regards reformation, due to hectic work schedule. But the prison staff can do miracles as they deal exclusively with the inmates. There should be inter-department transfers so that the prison staff also get an exposure to criminals. This can boost reformation activities,” he suggests.

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