Tiny tots and prisons seem to be worlds apart. The harsh reality is that there are at least 60 hapless children in Punjab prisons, living with their convicted mothers. Now, the jail authorities are trying to cheer up these children by celebrating their birthdays.
Under this move, Rs 1,500 will be spent on each child’s birthday from the welfare fund. “The birthday cake, sweets and snacks will be provided by the jail authorities. We started this initiative on Tuesday,” said Rajpal Meena, additional director general of police (prisons).
Punjab prisons have about 1,300 women inmates, including around 300 lodged in the women’s prison, Ludhiana.
In the case of many of these children, both parents are behind bars.
Another psychological blow is about to strike some of these kids when they turn six. As per prison rules, the child cannot stay with his or her mother after the age of six years.
“It’s depressing. Children have to suffer for sins of their parents,” said a government official, indicating that the judiciary had issued directions to the welfare department to take care of such children.
The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to submit a report on welfare schemes for prisoners, especially children, women and the mentally challenged.
In another welfare measure, the government has decided to temporarily release pregnant women prisoners for 120 days — 60 days prior to the date of delivery and 60 days after the birth.
It was in the recent Vidhan Sabha session that the Punjab good conduct prisoners (temporary release) amendment bill-2015 was passed, introducing these changes for the benefit of women prisoners.