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What Is The Model Prisons Act – Reforms In the Indian Prisons System?

The Union Home Ministry announced on Friday that the Centre has prepared a comprehensive ‘Model Prisons Act, 2023’ to replace the pre-independence era ‘Prisons Act, 1894,’ which primarily focused on keeping offenders in jail and ensuring discipline and order in prisons. The existing ‘Prisons Act, of 1894’ is nearly 130 years old and focuses primarily on keeping criminals in jail and enforcing discipline and order in prisons, with no provision for reform or rehabilitation.

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Why In the News?

  • The Ministry Of Home Affairs (MHA) Announced That It Has Finalised The Preparation Of The Model Prisons Act, 2023, To Replace The Existing 130-year-old Colonial Law On The Recommendations Of The Bureau Of Police Research And Development (BPRD).
  • Intending To Provide Guidance And Address Gaps In The Existing Prison Laws, The 2023 Act Seeks To Bring In The Use Of Technology In Prison Management, Make Provisions For The Grant Of Parole, Furlough, And Remission, And Introduce Special Provisions For Women And Transgender Inmates.

Bureau Of Police Research And Development

  • It Is A Multifaceted, Consultancy Organisation Which Works For The Modernisation Of Police Forces.
  • Established In: 1970,
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • Parent Agency: Ministry Of Home Affairs
What Is The Model Prisons Act – Reforms In the Indian Prisons System

Which Government Is Responsible For the Prisons Administration?

  • Along With The Prisons Act, of 1894, The Prisoners Act, of 1900, the Transfer Of Prisoners Act, of 1950’ & The Repatriation of Prisoners Act, of 2003 Have Also Been Reviewed By The MHA And Their Relevant Provisions Have Been Assimilated Into The Model Prisons Act, 2023

What About Previous Prisons Acts?

  • Gross Domestic Product Is A Monetary Measure Of The Market Value Of All The Final Goods And Services Produced And Sold In A Specific Time Period (Generally 1 Year) By A Country Or Countries.

 The Current Status Of Indian Prisons

  • The Total Number Of Prisons At the National Level Is 1,319 In 2021 As Per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
  • It Consists Of 564 Sub Jails, 424 District Jails, 148 Central Jails, 88 Open Jails, 41 Special Jails, 32 Women Jails, 19 Borstal Schools & 3 Other Than The Above Jails.
  • The Highest Number Of Jails Are In Rajasthan.
What Is The Model Prisons Act – Reforms In the Indian Prisons System 2

Challenges In the Indian Prisons System

  • Overcrowding Issue In India:
  • Indian Jail Suffer From Serious Overcrowding. The Actual Capacity Of Prisons Was 4,25,609 In 2021, Whereas The Number Of Prisoners Lodged In Various Jails Was 5,54,034 In 2021.
  • Problems With Existing Laws In India:
  • The Existing Act Mainly Focuses On Keeping The Criminals In Custody And Enforcement Of Discipline And Order In Prisons.
  • There Is No Provision For Reform And Rehabilitation Of Prisoners In The Existing Act.
  • Violation Of Basic Human Rights:
  • The Situation In Many Prisons To Be Considered A Violation Of Human Dignity As Well As The Basic Human Rights Of The Inmates.
  • Convicts Are Imprisoned For Long Periods In Crumbling Buildings With Inadequate Accommodation And Sanitary Facilities.
  • Privileges For Powerful People:
  • A Few Individuals, Who Are Powerful Are Allowed To Enjoy Extraordinary Facilities Not Permitted Under The Rules.
  • Misuse of Parole:
  • The Issue Of Misuse Of The Provisions For Parole And For Remission Of Sentences Has Significant Implications For Public Order Because Indiscriminate And Reckless Grant Of Parole Or Remission Of Sentences Can Impact Public Order Adversely
  • Staff Strength & Training:
  • The Sanctioned Strength Of Jail-staff Was 89,479 While The Actual Strength Was 64,449 Due To Vacancies Not Being Filled Up.
  • Out Of The 64,449 Jail Staff, 20.0% (12,903) Staffs Were Trained Under Various Refresher/Specialised/Re-orientation Courses During 2021
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What Are The New Provisions Being Proposed?

  • To Create Provisions For The Grant Of Parole, Furlough, And Remission To Prisoners To Encourage Good Conduct.
  • To Provide Separate Accommodation For Women & Transgender, Ensure The Physical And Mental Well-being Of Prisoners, And Focus On The Reformation And Rehabilitation Of Inmates.
  • Bring “Transparency In Prison Management” Includes Provisions For Security Assessment And Segregation Of Prisoners, Individual Sentence Planning; Grievance-Redressal, Prison Development Board, Use Of Technology In Prison Administration, and Open, Semi-open Jails Have Also Been Inserted.
  • New Measures For Prisoners To Video Conference With Courts Have Also Been Introduced. If A Prisoner Is Using Prohibited Items Like Mobile Phones In Jail, They Will Be Punished For It. 
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