Custody, care and treatment are the, three main functions of a modern prison organization. For over 100 years, there was emphasis on custody which, it was believed, depended on good order and discipline. The notion of prison discipline was to make imprisonment deterrent. Gradually, the objective of imprisonment changed from mere deterrence to deterrence and reformation. Crime is the outcome of a diseased mind and jail must have an environment of hospital for treatment and care. - Mahatma Gandhi
A prison, jail or correctional facility is a place in which individuals are physically confined or detained and usually deprived of a range of personal freedom. These institutions are an integral part of the criminal justice system of a country. There are various types of prisons such as those exclusively for adults, children, female, convicted prisoners, under-trial detainees and separate facilities for mentally ill offenders.
Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal punishment that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime or disobeying its rule. The objective of imprisonment varies in different countries and may be: a) punitive, b) deterrence, and c) rehabilitative and reformative. The primary purpose and justification of imprisonment is to protect society against crime and retribution. In current thinking, punitive methods of treatment of prisoners alone are neither relevant nor desirable to achieve the goal of reformation and rehabilitation of prison inmates. The concept of Correction, Reformation and Rehabilitation has come to the foreground and the prison administration is now expected to function in a curative and correctional manner. Human rights approaches and human rights legislations have facilitated a change in the approaches of correctional systems, and they have evolved from being reactive to proactively safeguarding prisoners‟ rights. CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS:
One of the best tenets of human rights law is that human rights are inalienable and under no circumstances can any authority take away a person’s basic human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: “No one shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment”. India being a signatory to various such international instruments of human rights is obliged to uphold and ensure observances of basic human rights. However, there is no specific guarantee of prisoners’ rights in the Constitution of India, but certain rights which have been enumerated in Part III of the constitution are available to the prisoners’ too because a prisoner remains a ‘person’ in the prison.
One of the most important provisions in the Indian Constitution which is generally applied by the Courts is Article 14 in which the principle of equality is embodied. It states that- “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” The rule that ‘like should be treated alike’ and the concept of reasonable classification as contained in Article 14 has been a very useful guide for the courts to determine the category of prisoners and their basis of classification in different categories. Article 19:
Article 19 guarantees six freedoms to citizens of India. Freedoms like the freedom of movement, freedom to reside and to settle, and freedom of profession, occupation, trade, or business cannot be enjoyed by the prisoners because of the very nature of these freedoms and due to the conditions of imprisonment. But other freedoms like freedom of speech and expression, or freedom to become member of an association, can be enjoyed by prisoners, within the limitations of prisons. Article 20(1) protects persons from ex-post-facto laws. It provides- ‘No person shall be convicted for any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a...