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Inmates lack engaging timetable behind bars

Prisoners in the district jail, which houses about 500 inmates, seem to have a lot of free time behind bars as there is no activity to keep them busy throughout the day.

punjab Updated: Dec 03, 2014 20:07 IST
Mohammad Ghazali

Prisoners in the district jail, which houses about 500 inmates, seem to have a lot of free time behind bars as there is no activity to keep them busy throughout the day.

An HT team found that most of the prisoners keep loitering in the premises without being assigned any skill-building activity.

The jail authorities that see frequent visits by senior district officials also seem to have failed in engaging prisoners.

"We have sports facilities for the inmates. Equipments for indoor games have been provided to them and they are allowed to use it in the evening hours," claimed the jail superintendent.

The inmates, however, allege that there are a lot of issues which need to be addressed and are never brought to light.

"Cleaning of water tanks has not been undertaken for months. We keep roaming around and do petty jobs, only to please the supervisor," said one of the inmates on condition of anonymity.

Failed promises

Deputy commissioner Pravin Kumar Thind and district and sessions judge JS Khushdil visited the jail on Wednesday and promised to address the grievances of the inmates.

Though it has been almost four months since the deputy commissioner ordered HIV tests for the prisoners, nothing seems to have been done in this regard.

"I had ordered for the test in July but the previous civil surgeon did not follow my orders," said Thind. Ex-civil surgeon Dr Jasbir Minhas could not be reached for his comments.

On being asked why no skill-building training was being imparted to the inmates, the DC said no NGO was interested in the same.

"There are no such NGOs in Mansa which provide training and the ones which do so are not interested in engaging with the district jail," he said.

He added that female inmates had requested him to provide them sewing machines so that they could utilise their skills.

"On my visit, I was approached by the female inmates who are skilled enough to sew bags and other items. They requested for sewing machines to be provided to them. I will try my best to resolve their issues," the DC said.

Thind acknowledged the fact that prisoners sat idle without any productive work but also claimed that with the setting up of a library, a step had been initiated in the direction. "A library has been set up as promised and we will try to increase the number of books."