Centre to bring Model Prisons Act: Amit Shah

Updated on Sep 05, 2022 12:40 AM IST

After introducing a model prison manual in 2016, the Union government will now bring a Model Prisons Act by amending the British-era law in the next six months, home minister Amit Shah said while addressing a gathering at the inauguration of the sixth All India Prison Duty Meet in Ahmedabad.

Union home Minister Amit Shah waves at supporters during inauguration of Gandhinagar Anupam Smart Primary School in Ahmedabad on Sunday. (PTI)
Union home Minister Amit Shah waves at supporters during inauguration of Gandhinagar Anupam Smart Primary School in Ahmedabad on Sunday. (PTI)
By, Ahmedabad

After introducing a model prison manual in 2016, the Union government will now bring a Model Prisons Act by amending the British-era law in the next six months, home minister Amit Shah said while addressing a gathering at the inauguration of the sixth All India Prison Duty Meet in Ahmedabad.

Not all convicts lodged in jail are criminals by nature, and there should be a way to rehabilitate them back into society, Shah said.

The minister urged all the state governments to accept the model prison manual with “a need to reassess our views regarding prisons” and carry forward prison reforms. Only 11 states and Union territories have so far adopted the manual, he said.

“After the prison manual, we are now going to bring the Model Prisons Act, which will bring about necessary changes in the law in force since the British era. Right now, we are holding extensive discussions with states and I am sure that it will be brought within the next six months,” Shah said.

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The jail manual contains several remedial points and emphasizes on computerization in prisons to bring about basic uniformity in human rights, reformed rehabilitation of prisoners, and rules and regulations, Shah said. It has special provisions for the rights of women prisoners along with aftercare facilities, good scientific procedures for prison inspections, rights of death row prisoners and many good provisions for staff involved in prison reforms.

The proposed prisons legislation will be brought to make jails in the country state-of-the-art.

The minister said the states will also have to think over the issue of overcrowding in prisons. Unless this is resolved, jail administration cannot be improved, he said.

Shah said there is a need to make arrangements to keep those prisoners separate who are convicted for crimes of spreading propaganda of radicalization and promoting narcotics. The new jail manual has information to control gangs inside jails, he added.

“I believe that prison administration is a very important wing of internal security. We cannot ignore jail administration. The society’s perception of jails needs to be changed. Not all convicts lodged in jail are criminals by nature,” Shah said.

The process of punishment is also important, but it is also the responsibility of the jail administration that if a person is not a criminal by nature or habit, then they should act as a medium to place such prisoners back into society, Shah said.

As much as 90% of those sentenced are prisoners whose societal rehabilitation is important, not only from the from a humane point of view, but also from the point of view of law and order, the home minister said.

At a function on Sunday to inaugurate four smart schools in Ahmedabad city, Shah in an indirect reference to the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Gujarat said that there are some who try to jump the gun five months before elections by making tall promises.

“Elections are near in Gujarat. There are two types of people. On the one hand, there are those who contest elections by putting their toil and sweat of doing public service for five years. And then there are those who put on new clothes five months ahead of elections and make tall promises,” said Shah.

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Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel told the gathering that Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has readied 20 smart schools and that 63 more will be set up by the end of this year.

On Sunday evening, Shah attended the 36th National Games that was launched at the EKA Arena TransStadia. Over 9,000 guests from across the state attended the ceremony.

The curtain-raiser event witnessed the unveiling of the games anthem and mascot, as well as a custom website and mobile application, marking the beginning of the biggest sporting extravaganza in the country. “We are delighted and proud to host the National Games,” chief minister Patel said on September 3.

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