Prison Development in India

Topics: Prison, Criminal justice, Penology Pages: 12 (3139 words) Published: March 10, 2013


Crime is the outcome of a diseased mind and jail must have an environment of hospital for treatment and care.

- Mahatma Gandhi

A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and usually deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime. Prisons are not normal places. The prisoners are deprived of freedom and normal contacts with families and friends. The deadening disciplines, fear, helplessness which are inherent in the prison system produce mental stagnation. The emotional and material deprivations cause frustration.

Prison is a State subject under List-II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. The management and administration of Prisons falls exclusively in the domain of the State Governments, and is governed by the Prisons Act, 1894 and the Prison Manuals of the respective State Governments. Thus, States have the primary role, responsibility and authority to change the current prison laws, rules and regulations. And Central government providing assistance to the States to improve security in prisons, repair and renovation of old prisons, medical facilities, development of borstal schools, facilities to women offenders, vocational training, modernization of prison industries, training to prison personnel, and for the creation of high security enclosure.

In its judgments on various aspects of prison administration, the Supreme Court of India has laid down three broad principles regarding imprisonment and custody.

Firstly, a person in prison does not become a non-person;

Secondly, a person in prison is entitled to all human rights within the limitations of imprisonment; and,

Lastly there is no justification for aggravating the suffering already inherent in the process of incarceration.

Therefore statistical information on prison administration play an important role in assessing the various parameters of prison administration and realized need of data-driven policy interventions and evolving correctional/remedial strategies.

When a person is detained by police and sent to judicial custody or he get the punishment, the place where they are kept is called prison, and these persons are called prisoners.

Only in the 19th century, beginning in Britain, did prisons as known today become commonplace. The modern prison system was born in London, influenced by the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham.

Objective of Prisons

As early as in the year 1920, the Indian Jails Committee had unequivocally declared that the reformation and rehabilitation of offenders was the ultimate objective of prison administration. This declaration subsequently found its echo in the proceedings of various Prison Reforms Committees appointed by the Central and State Governments of the international influences. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, formulated in 1955, provides the basic framework for such a goal. The international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, propounded by United Nations in 1977, to which India is a party, has clearly brought out that the penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and social rehabilitation. It is, however, seen that whereas India is second to none in terms of an enlightened thinking with regard to the purpose and objective of imprisonment, the gap between proclaimed principles and actual practices appears to have been widening in recent years.



Broadly speaking, the existence of prisons in our society is an ancient phenomenon since Vedic period where the anti-social elements were kept in a place identified by the rulers to protect the society against crime. Prisons’ were...
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