Move to make jails self-sustaining, more humane

Punjab jails would soon be not just correctional centres but also commercial enterprises. There is a move to explore utilisation of jail properties to make the prisons of the state self-sustaining.

Another experiment the Punjab Prisons Department may be doing is allowing cohabitation facilities to convicts, under which spouses of inmates will be allowed to live with them for a brief period.

These are part of proposals under consideration of the department for better prison management and reformation motivation to inmates.

A Punjab prisons development board is proposed to be constituted for carrying out the projects for resource generation as well as for more humane treatment of the inmates. The Punjab jails have remained

in news for wrong reasons like lack of facilities, hygiene issues and lack of funds for proper management. Some foreign-based wanted criminals or accused have taken the plea of the inhuman conditions of

these jails to prevent their extradition.

A recent example is the failed extradition from Canada of two accused in the Jassi honour killing case. Among other pleas against their extradition to India, they cited the alleged lack of basic amenities in jails


The ADGP, Jails, IPS Sahota, said the new proposals and constitution of the board were finalised in a recent meeting of the jail superintendents. “We have taken inspiration from the Telangana state jail model

for the self management of the finances. The jail land is leased out for commercial activities like petrol pump, markets or other businesses,” he said.

“The cohabitation of the inmates with their spouse is being practised for several years in Sanganer Jail in Rajasthan,” he said.

Sahota said convicts were allowed to go on parole to be with their families. “In the cohabitation policy, their spouses or children can live with them in specially made colonies on the jail premises, but near the

outer ring.”

The financial model offered jails away from other inmates. These were also called agriculture colonies where the convicts worked in fields close to such houses but on the jail premises, He said.

Sahota said most of the jails in Punjab were along main roads, which offered commercial exploitation. “The annual budget of the Prisons Department is about Rs 250 crore. We propose to earn this amount or

even more through leasing out our land for business purposes. The jails would be self-sustaining in a couple of years.”

“We are generating funds now also through agriculture, sale of furniture and bakery products made by inmates but the money is deposited in the Treasury. Once the board comes into being, the funds will be

deposited with it. This will ensure speedy execution of work,” he said.

The proposals would be soon put up before Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and the state Cabinet.

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