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UP prisons to be known as "Reform Homes": CM Yogi Adityanath

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) : Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, while reviewing the condition of prisons in a high-level meeting on Thursday, gave important guidelines towards prison reform. He expressed the need to establish prisons as 'Sudhaar Grah' (Reform Homes) and issued instructions regarding the preparation of the new Prison Act of the state, an official statement said. "We have to set up prisons as 'Reform Homes'. Every necessary step should be taken for this purpose. Arrangements like security assessment of prisoners, grievance redressal, Prison Development Board, change in behaviour towards prisoners and provision of separate accommodation for women prisoners and transgender etc. should be implemented," added the statement. In the present time, the Jail Act of 1894 and the Prisoners Act of 1900 are in effect concerning prisoners detained in jail. Both of these acts have been in practice since before independence, and many of their provisions do not align with changing circumstances and a rehabilitative ideology for prisoners. The objective of the Prison Act of 1894 is to maintain discipline and control over offenders in custody, but we need to focus on reform and rehabilitation. Therefore, considering the future, it is necessary for us to implement new acts. The Model Prison Act - 2023 has recently been prepared by the Government of India. This Model Act is very useful from the point of view of reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners. According to this Model Act, a new Prison Act of the state would be prepared keeping in mind the needs of the state. The state cabinet has recently approved the new jail manual. This is an important effort towards prison reforms. We need to make solid efforts to establish prisons as better centers for rehabilitation. In this direction, the establishment of an "Open Jail" can prove to be beneficial. Currently, there is a semi-open jail operational in Lucknow. CM Yogi directed to prepare a formal proposal for establishing an open jail. "High-security barracks should be prepared for prisoners who are a big threat to the country and society like habitual criminals, and terrorists. High standards should be strictly followed for their safety," added the statement. He called for enforcing the provision of the harshest punishment for the use of banned items like mobile phones in prisons. "Technology should be used more in order to bring transparency to prison administration. At present, the entry/exit of prisoners in the jails of the state is being done through e-prison. Prisoners' Information Management System, Visitor Management System, E-custody Certificate, and Police Intelligence System are being implemented. More than 4200 CCTV cameras are installed in the jails of the state, which are constantly monitored through video walls installed in the headquarters, on which alerts are also received, which altogether are yielding good results," added the statement. It also called for drone cameras to be integrated with the video to monitor prisoners, the provision of video conferencing with the courts, the provision of scientific and technical intervention etc. in prisons should also be implemented. This should be kept in mind while preparing the new Act. In order to encourage good conduct in prison, prisoners should get the benefit of legal aid, parole, furlough and early release. There should be a clear provision in this regard in the new Act, read the statement.

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