Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 13
The Punjab Cabinet today approved the Punjab Prison Rules, 2021, under the Prison Act, 1894, superseding the archaic and outdated jails manual.
Focus on high-risk prisoners
- ‘Prisons within prisons’ (high-security zones) have been created for high-risk prisoners
- These will be equipped with wireless sets, alarm system, power back-up, hand-held and doorframe metal detectors
- For better monitoring, a multi-tier security grid has also been put in place under the new rules
The Cabinet noted that the provisions of the Punjab Jail Manual, 1996, had become archaic with the passage of time and there was imminent need to update it in the changed scenario of modernisation, prison computerisation, current technology and latest laws.
The newly drafted rules lay emphasis not only on safe and secure custody of prisoners, but also on other aspects such as welfare, corrections and aftercare, which have emerged as equally important in modern times. To ensure effective surveillance, safe custody and prevention of escapes, new security parameters have been introduced in the rules.
For lodging of high-risk prisoners such as gangsters, drug offenders, terrorists, radicals, etc, “prisons within prisons” i.e. high security enclosures or zones have been created.
The infrastructural requirements of these enclosures have been defined. These shall be equipped with wireless sets, alarm system, dedicated power back-up, hand-held and doorframe metal detectors, video-conferencing facilities, closed circuit TV cameras, X-ray baggage machines, body scanners and other modern electronic security devices.
A multi-tier security grid has also been placed for better monitoring on the high security zones.
Adequate provisions for creation of a welfare fund, meal for employees during their shift, legal assistance, housing, medicare, financial assistance, welfare of retired officers, etc, have been made to keep prison officers motivated.
Promotional courses on the lines of the Punjab Police have also been incorporated for fair and faster promotions. To reduce recidivism, ensure successful rehabilitation and social reintegration of released convict prisoners, a framework for aftercare assistance has been incorporated in the new rules. This will cover many aspects, such as assistance in employment/ entrepreneurship, medical treatment, marriage, renting a house, etc.