Bhagwant Mann underscores need to emerge state jail system as no.1 across country
Exhorts prison officials to focus on correctional interventions to reform inmates to lead life with dignity after imprisonment
Chandigarh : Emphasizing on the need to bring sweeping reforms in the Jail administration, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday exhorted the officers of Prisons department to work cohesively to the best of their capacities and capabilities to showcase the Punjab Jail system as No.1 across the country.Chairing the maiden meeting of Prisons department here at Punjab Bhawan this evening, Bhagwant Mann said that actions should speak louder than words and success alone should be the deciding factor for projection of good work done by all of you as a team. Appreciating the entire team for introducing path breaking initiatives taken by the Prisons department, Mann said, “You should further excel to surpass the standards of Telangana model of prison system and assured of all support including requisite manpower, latest IT based technology and adequate funds”.Pointing out further, Bhagwant Mann said that our primarily goal should be to reform the inmates including hardcore criminals, gangsters and drug addicts so as to bring them in the mainstream, who have gone astray due to some compelling circumstances beyond their control. He said that jails should not be torture centres rather focus should be made to make them reformative houses to provide counseling to the inmates for correctional interventions so that they could become ideal citizens of the society to lead a life with dignity after serving their term of imprisonment.
Without mincing any words, Mann further said that all the inmates should be treated alike regardless of their social status or position. At the same time, he said asked the Jail officials to accord topmost priority for safeguarding the human rights of inmates.Quoting an incident of South African President Late Nelson Mandela, who was maltreated by the Jail superintendent during his imprisonment, Mann urged the officials to treat inmates including both under trials and convicts as human beings. He said the prisoners should be given the basic facilities like medical, proper hygiene and quality food as per the jail manual.Showing concern over the law and order situation, Mann also asked the officers of Prison department to further intensify their efforts to improve the functioning of jails across the state and strict vigil should be kept round the clock to prevent illegal use of mobile phones in jails for crimes outside besides stamping out corruption with a heavy hand.
Mann further informed the officials that they would be confronted with such challenges for some more time as his government is already working day and night to provide the quality education and enormous job opportunities to our youth and Godforbid with all these initiatives the requirement of jails across the state would gradually come down.Acceding to the request of the officers of Jails department, Bhagwant Mann also announced to extend the scheme of congratulating their personnel too on the line of Police department on their birthdays.Earlier welcoming Bhagwant Mann, the Jails Minister Harjot Singh Bains highlighted the various issues faced by the Jail officials in implementation of efficient jail management. He requested the Chief Minister to immediately fill the slot of Managing Director Punjab Police Housing Corporation as the post is lying vacant for over one month on retirement of DGP & Chairman-cum-MD MK Tiwari, which has led to several projects of Jails department to a grinding halt. Bains also urged the Chief Minister to make a budgetary provision for the construction of modern jail at Mohali in the annual budget for 2022-23.
Apprising the Chief Minister about the challenges faced by the Prison department, Principal Secretary Jails DK Tiwari said that there was huge shortage of staff and a high risk of prisoners with unique mix of organized crime criminals, gangsters, terrorists, fundamentalists, narco-terror accused, drug crime accused and drug addicts. He sought recruitment of specialists staff for IT/computers, legal matters, accounts and psychologists to ensure efficacious functioning of Jails department.While making a presentation on the functioning of Department of Prisons, ADGP Prisons PK Sinha urged the Chief Minister for setting up of separate Intelligence Wing of Department of Prisons and immediately initiate recruitment process to fill the vacant sanctioned posts at all levels with an average vacancy of 46.98%.Prominent amongst others who attended the meeting included Additional Chief Secretary to CM A. Venu Prasad and Special Principal Secretary to CM Ravi Bhagat.