Save Prisoners

20
Apr

Sex Slave: Putting a Price Tag on Human Dignity.

“Slavery is a weed that grows on every soil.”  – Edmund Burke

Introduction:

Before we talk about sex slave in India, we need to understand the meaning of it. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, sex slave basically means when a person is forced to perform sexual acts and who is not free to leave the place where they are kept or they are not allowed to stop the work which they are being forced to do.

Sexual Slavery basically includes forced labour (including forced marriage) and sex trafficking persons, such as the sexual trafficking of children.[1]

In old times even ‘concubinage’ existed, which was a traditional form of sexual slavery in many cultures, in which women spent their lives in sexual servitude. In some cultures, concubines and their children had distinct rights and legitimate social positions.

Types:

To understand the concept of sex slave, it is very important to understand the types of sexual slavery, some of which are as follows:

  • Sex Trafficking: Sex trafficking is a type of human trafficking involving the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people, by coercive or abusive means for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sex trafficking is not the only form of human trafficking and estimates vary as to the percentage of human trafficking which is for the purpose of transporting someone into sexual slavery.
  • Utilization of children for commercial sex: It includes within its ambit a number of things like child prostitution,child sex tourism, child pornography, or other forms of transactional sex with children.[2] Youth Advocate Program International has described the utilization of children for commercial sexual activities as a form of coercion and violence against kids as a modern form of slavery. An assertion was made by the World Congress against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children which was held in Stockholm in 1996 wherein it was stated about CSEC as, “sexual abuse by the adult and remuneration in cash or in kind to the child or to a third person or persons, the child is treated as a sexual object and as a commercial object”.[3]
  • Forced prostitution: Forced prostitution refers to a situation of control over a person who is coerced by another to engage in sexual activity.
  • Forced marriage: A forced marriage is a marriage where one or both participants are married, without their freely given consent. Forced marriage is a form of sexual slavery. Causes for forced marriages include customs such as bride price and dowry; poverty; the importance given to female premarital virginity; “family honour”; the fact that marriage is considered in certain communities a social arrangement between the extended families of the bride and groom; limited education and economic options; perceived protection of cultural or religious traditions; assisting immigration.

Sex Slave in India: A Shame to Our Community:

“India is a source destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking,”[4]

The sex slave trade is centuries old, but its modern manifestation in India began under the British period. British soldiers and clerks had begun to show high rates of syphilis[5] and because of that in 19th-century, colonial administrators passed an Act known as Cantonment Act and Contagious Diseases Act, and created regulated areas for commercialized sex for British soldiers. Women of Indian origin were brought to such locality and regularly submitted to health check-ups. These women were not given any permission to marry or have any other profession.[6]

Nowadays, 90% of human trafficking in India is happening domestically[7], not across borders. In various cases, traffickers tempt children or young adults from rural villages to the city with the promise of well-paid work. Then such victims are transferred to individuals who become their masters making such victims the slaves. Some victims work without pay as household maids. Others have no way but to enter forced marriages with strangers whom they have never met. Some are also forced into bonded labour in the mining or agricultural sectors. Others are sold in brothels.

Most significant places where female trafficking victims are found large in number in India are Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat and Hyderabad which is a data according to the US State Department’s latest Trafficking in Persons Report. Women from Nepal and small girls are increasingly being trafficked to Assam, Nagpur and Pune.

In India, sex-selective abortions and female infanticide are very common due to the preference for male babies which has created one of the most harsh gender imbalances in the world. In recent times, the scarcity of women is generating a dangerous requirement for brides among men anxious to marry, especially in states like Haryana, which has one of the country’s devastating gender ratios. Traffickers are stepping in to meet this demand by kidnapping women from other states and exporting them to men in Haryana.[8]

Reason of Increase in Human Trafficking in India:

The following are the plausible reasons:[9]

  1. The Fundamental theory of demand and supply is valid for this situation as well. Men usually travel to major commercial cities for work and from there, the demand of commercial sex starts. To satisfy such supply of clients all sorts of efforts are made by the suppliers to bring girls and women from different parts of the country through processes like abduction, etc. Young girls and women belonging to poor families are at higher risk of falling prey to such instances.
  2. Poverty and economic deprivation is another main reason for the increase in human trafficking. Generally, it can be observed that if one is born to a poor family in the North-eastern state of India, then one is at a higher risk of being sold. Again, if a person is born to a poor family and is a girl, then the likelihood further increases. Sometimes parents are also desperate to sell their daughters to earn money in poorer families.
  3. Social inequality, regional gender preference, imbalance and corruption are some of the prevailing leading causes of human trafficking in India.

 

 

 

Treatment of the Guilty Offenders:

Under the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA), trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation is penalized. The punishment ranges from seven years’ to life imprisonment. The Bonded Labour Abolition Act, the Child Labour Act, and the Juvenile Justice Act are some of the other legislations which prohibit the bonded and forced labour in India.

Because of the brutal gang rape of December 2012, chiefly known as the Nirbhaya incident, government has passed a bill in which laws related to sexual violence and sex trafficking have been amended. But then also, there is a huge gap between enactment and enforcement of these laws in India. If only there is a strict disciplinary action against everybody involved in such a crime only then, this problem can be addressed.

Conclusion:

The term sex slave itself hides a huge number of horrors which can involve kidnap, rape, illegal detention, prostitution and violence. Victims are often threatened with the murder of loved ones or dependents if they try to escape. While it is unclear whether stricter punishments will deter perpetrators, rescue and rehabilitation efforts remain sadly ineffective.

Movies are the best way to engage people with social issues. Bollywood movies in many occasions have tried to portray the real image of Indian society on the issue of sex trafficking and have successfully brought out the horrific images and the misery of the trafficked women on the said cause. Movies like Chandni, B.A. Pass, Dev D, Lakshmi, Udta Punjab has dealt with such societal problems. Again, movies like Slum dog Millionaire, Traffic Signal touched the subject of child labour and child trafficking.

 

Written By :  ANWESHA GHOSH

Edited By :   GAURAV AGARWAL

 

[1]Jackie Jones, Anna Grear, Rachel Anne Fenton, Kim Stevenson (2011). Gender, Sexualities and Law. Routledge. p. 203. ISBN 1136829237. Retrieved October 28, 2017.

[2] “Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and Child Trafficking”. Youth Advocate Program International. Retrieved 8 July 2012.

[3] Stephen Clift; Simon Carter (2000). Tourism and Sex. Cengage Learning EMEA. pp. 75–78. ISBN 1-85567-636-2.

[4] Arun Kumar, Forced Labour India’s Largest Trafficking Problem: US Report. , Zee News (Mar. 28, 2018, 6:57 PM) http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/forced-labour-indias-largest-trafficking-problem-us-report_1637346.html.

[5] A very serious disease that is spread through sexual intercourse.

[6] Teresa Cantero, India Has A Sex Trafficking Problem, And It’s Worse Than You Think, allthatsinteresting.com (Mar. 28, 2018, 6:50 PM), http://allthatsinteresting.com/human-trafficking-india.

[7] Sadika Hameed, Sandile Hlatshwayo, Evan Tanner, Meltem Türker, and Jungwon Yang, Human Trafficking in India: Dynamics, Current Efforts, and Intervention Opportunities for The Asia Foundation (Mar. 28, 2018, 6:55 PM), https://asiafoundation.org/resources/pdfs/StanfordHumanTraffickingIndiaFinalReport.pdf.

[8] Mary Ann Jolley & Liz Gooch, Sold like cows and goats: India’s slave brides, aljazeera.com (Mar. 28, 2018, 7:15 PM), https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/11/cows-goats-india-slave-brides-161114084933017.html.

[9] Ramandeep Kaur, Human Trafficking in India must end, mapsofindia (Mar. 28, 2018, 7:54 PM), https://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/society/human-trafficking-in-india-must-end.

18
Apr

INDIFFERENT TREATMENT OF PRISONERS

Written By: Shree Rastogi

Introduction:

All human beings are independent, free and equal in dignity and rights; and humans only become prisoners because of their actions and behaviors that lead them to be called as Prisoners but it does not mean ever that they should be treated like animals. Jail authorities who are told to look after them do not pay any attention to them. There are many places where there are different kinds of ways and treatments by which each and every prisoner to have gone through. In India which is world’s largest democratic country where there are free elections, a multiparty Parliamentary system and Independence of judiciary that take pride in their independence and that help to make a lively society but something has gone wrong in India. In some major cities of the country, the prisoners get tortured and abused.

In this world jails are still workshops of torture, a storeroom in which human commodities are heartlessly kept and where varieties of prisoners range from driftwood juveniles to heroic dissenters”.  Every person taken to a police station in connection with some of the other offense in our country is subjected to severe beating and torture through sticks; boots, belt, and wooden roller are most common instruments of beating. Naked and semi-naked men are a common sight in police lock-ups.  And the other indifferent treatments are as follows:

  1. 1. That the prisoners are discriminated on the basis of caste, religion, gender etc. and the high-profile inmates manage to get bigger space and better facilities ‘ for a price’; while others have difficulty to stretch their legs in their stinking and cramped cells.
  2. That the prisoners are getting harsh mental and physical tortures, beaten and sexually humiliated in the jail in routine basis by the Police without any reason and no actions are taken against them.
  3. That the female prisoners are sexually abused or frequently exploited sexually, custodial raped, or molested by the jail authorities.
  4. Prisoners who get sick, like suffering from HIV or TB, etc. they are not treated properly and normal prisoners have to sleep with patient prisoners and are forced to work as labors if they show rejection they have to go through loads of abuses.
  5. Prisoners are sometimes killed by jail authorities through firing or any other method if they object.
  6. That the prisons are overcrowded and living conditions are inhumane, and they have to live in unhygienic living conditions. Toilets are not cleaned for days that led to skin diseases and other diseases to the prisoner’s; the food served in jail is so bad that is unfit for consumption, etc.

According to Article 21 of the Constitution of India, being in a educated society organized with law and a system as such, it is necessary to ensure for every citizen a reasonably dignified life and even if the person is confined or imprisoned because of his wrong, he is entitled to their rights unaffected by the punishment for wrongs, simply because if a person under trial or a convict, his rights cannot be denuded.

 In the case of Sunil Batra V/s Delhi Administration (1994)4 SSC 260, the Supreme Court had occasion to deal with the rights of prisoner’s and gave a very obvious answer to the question whether prisoners are persons and whether they are entitled to fundamental rights and said to handcuff  is to hoop harshly and to punish  humiliating. The minimum freedom under which a detainee is entitled to under Article 19 cannot be cut down by the application of handcuffs.

In the case of Charles Shobraj vs. Superintendent (1978), the court said that prisoners are also human beings. Hence, all such rights except those that are taken away in the legitimate process of incarceration still remain with the prisoner. These include rights that are related to the protection of basic human dignity as well as those for development of the prisoners into a better human being”.

Article 14 of the constitution gives the right to equality and equal protection also to the prisoners.  The Indian Supreme Court has been active in responding to prisoner’s violations in Indian jails and has, in the process, recognized a number of rights of the prisoner’s by interpreting Articles 21, 19,22,32,37 and 39 –A of the constitution in a positive and humane way.

According to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, “No one shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

ISSUES:

  • Most of the prisoners are just under-trails, spending long years in the jail due to judicial delays or delay in trial.
  • The basic thing to remember here is the dignity of an individual is a matter f concern for society as a whole.
  • Torture, discrimination, killing etc. are all grave criminal acts and cannot be permitted in any law-abiding Such criminal acts within a law mandated place pose a serious challenge to the rule of law.
  • Bail is granted but prisoners are not released.
  • The callous and insensitive attitude of jail authorities.
  • Corruption and other malpractices.
  • Punishment carried out by jail authorities not coherent with the punishment given by the court, etc.

CONCLUSION:

 Day- by- day the condition of prisoners is becoming worst. Torture of prisoners in lock-ups is routine. An attorney who regularly defends those who have held in such lock-ups described the frequency of the “third degree”. Prisoners are also a human being; they also have human rights which are violated such as custodial death, custodial rapes, degrading treatment, physical violence/torture, police excess, not producing the prisoners to the court, poor quality of food, poor health system support, etc. They have committed a crime and get punished in the eyes of law, so they don’t need any extra punishment.

 In the name of investigating crimes, extracting confessions, and pushing individuals by the law enforcement agencies, torture is inflicted not only upon the accused but also on bona fide petitioner’s, complainant or informants amount to cruel, inhuman, barbaric and degrading treatment, grossly derogatory to the individual dignity of the human person.

16
Apr

Prisons: A place for reformation or Inhumanity

Written By: Tanay Akash

Introduction

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but the lowest ones”. The above quote by Nelson Mandela directly forces to think about the current condition of the jails in every country especially a highly populated country like India. Jail or Prison is simply a place where people are kept when they have been arrested and are punished for a crime. It is a place of so-called reformation where culprits and under trial persons are kept for the purpose of reformation. But whenever the term “prisoner” strikes in mind it is generally believed that they are the people who are having punishment in lieu of commission of any crime and they are culprits. The concept of prison came into existence during the rise of the state as a form of social organization, even then with the motive of reformation.

As per statistical data, the total no of jails in India is approx 1382 with prisoners capacity around 1, 84, 386 prisoners in central and 1, 79, 695 in district jails. The sanctioned strength of prison staff needed is 68, 920 but actually, the strength is 49, 250 staffs. This current statistical data shows a critical condition which may even get worst with some more practical problems. Reformation is a much broader term and an event which doesn’t come in a singular day and to bring reformation a long period of constant effort is needed.

 Peeping into the real problems inside

The basic problem that a prisoner face just entering a jail whether he/she is an under trial or convicted one, is the inhumane treatment and treated with a feeling of being the culprit. It is believed that being prisoner all the fundamental, as well as legal rights, are being curtailed and they have to live as anti-social being regretting their crime. In India, it is a well-known fact that apart from heinous crimes most of the other crimes are being done due to need, poverty or sudden provocation lacking mala-fide intentions which can be reformed but the question remains same- are jails in India letting prisoners reform. The conditions of juvenile shelters are also same. Juveniles being the tender offenders are needed to be reformed in the juvenile shelters but mostly they are turning into notorious criminals.

  • While having the practical exposure it was seen that there was a clear-cut division among the prisoners as they were divided into two groups as per the prescribed punishment. A group of higher punishment or longer terms in prison has made a kind of kingdom inside, even ignored by the jail authorities most of the time and this group dominate over all the prisoners present in every such prison. In a nutshell, an under-trial prisoner whether he has committed the offense or not, until proven acquitted had to face both the ill-treatment by jail authority and those dominating group of prisoners making the dual standards even in inhumanity.
  • The second problem which could be witnessed while a jail visit is the lack of sanitation and living condition inside jails. The prisoners in most of the jails are seen to live in an under living standards with scooped roofs and barren floors. Apart from the case of others like special treatment to some leaders or some highly politically motivated cases, others have to face the same.
  • The third and very efficient problem which may be seen in every jail is the lack of reformative environment. For any reformation to take place there is always a need of peaceful environment in which the prisoner may think about their guilt and the ways to further reformation but the passive attitude of jail attendant and the shaggy environment that they observe inside a jail is completely opposite to the reformative theory.
  • The fourth problem associated with the jails is the worst food both quality as well as quantity wise. It is often said that if good food will be provided in the jails then how the prisoners will realize their faults. Somehow it may look right from one angle but from another angle, at least the prescribed jail manuals must be followed strictly.
  • The fifth problem is the lack of awareness as the prisoners were completely unaware of their legal rights as “Right to provide free legal Aid under Article 39A of the Constitution of India seemed to be a joke for them”.
  • One of most important problem related to jails in India is the passive attitude of the legal services authorities and the lack of panel lawyers associated with them. Jail authorities may be due to extreme burden never look interested in sorting the prisoners to have some recreational or reformative works even sorting the under trial prisoners who can be given bail as per the provisions of sec 436(A) Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908 automatically.

Thus, in a nutshell, it can be said that we have a racially biased justice system that over punishes, fails to rehabilitate, and does not make us safer but on the other hand it is also a truth that in India the conviction rate is just 3% which clearly stimulates a different treatment of the undertrial prisoners with the convicted ones as it is complete injustice for anyone to suffer all those inhumane conditions of which he is not liable.

 

Edited By: Rachit Mehrotra

15
Apr

INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR THE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS

Written By: Florina Laza

The conditions in which prisoners are being held are different for every country, but what they all have in common is an all-encompassing set of international standards which needs to be addressed and put into practice accordingly. The revised UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners were adopted unanimously in December 2015 by the UN General Assembly (UN-Doc A/Res/70/175). They are known as “the Nelson Mandela Rules” to honor the work and achievements of the late President of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who was a strong advocate for the rights of prisoners throughout his entire life, spending “27 years in prison in the course of his struggle for global human rights, equality, democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace”.

            The original framework was first adopted in 1955 and after more than 60 years of practice, there was a clear need for development. In the past decades, the international legal framework for the treatment of prisoners has been perfecting and several international conventions interfered, such as: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

            While they present a general international legal framework on basic principle rights, the Nelson Mandela Rules consist in a set of minimum standards that should be applied in prisons from admission to release, assuring that every detainee’s right matters. But the 122 Rules do not seek to create a model system of penal institutions, but rather to present in the adequate way “what is generally accepted as being good principles and practice in the treatment of prisoners and prison management”. Considering the variety of legal, social, economic and geographical circumstances, it is obvious that those rules are not suitable for all countries. However, they should determine a continuing process of evolution in the struggle of creating fair domestic prison systems.

             Globally, the world prison population has increased by almost 20% since 2000, to more than 10 million people, and the conditions for some of those detainees are a nightmare: overcrowded cells; limited medical and health services; high usage of solitary confinement; violence and drugs; torture, ill-treatment and the absence of legal safeguards; limited access to legal representation and little knowledge of basic rights; lack of hygiene, food, care, and, of course, dignity. The Nelson Mandela Rules cover all aspects of those international problems and outline the agreed minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners.

            From Rule 1 to 5, the international instrument defines the basic principles applicable “to all categories of prisoners, criminal or civil, untried or convicted, including prisoners subject to “security measures” or corrective measures ordered by the judge”. First of all, all prisoners should be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings (Rule 1). Nothing justifies torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments or punishments.

            Also, all the rules should be applied impartially with no discrimination “on grounds of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or any other status”. Every prisoner’s moral beliefs and religious views should be treated with consideration (Rule 2). So, all detainees should be treated according to their individual needs, especially taking into account the most vulnerable categories (pregnant women, elderly people, and malnourished, people who are ill or immunocompromised, disabled or lacking capacity). Another idealistic aspect would be the minimization of any “differences between prison life and life at liberty” through necessary adjustments for prisoners with physical, mental or other disabilities (Rule 5).  

            The whole purpose of the prison system is to reduce criminality, recidivism and ensure reintegration in the society. For those, prison administration and other competent authorities should offer education, vocational training and work through a variety of programs (Rule 4). The prisoner must feel that, after serving his time, he can have a future outside the prison facility.

            In every prison should be a sustainable standardized prisoner file management system represented by an electronic database of records or a registration book with numbered and signed pages. The prisoner file management shall include certain pieces of information prior to admission and in the course of imprisonment that shall be kept confidential and made available only to those who have a professional responsibility which justifies the request (Rule 6 – 9).

            Moreover, separation of categories on basis of sex, age, criminal record, the legal reason for their detention is a high requested necessity that goes beyond the call for dignity. The separation shall be made on institutions or parts of institutions as such: men prisoners should be kept as far as possible from women prisoners, at least in two entirely separate premises of an institution; prisoners awaiting trial shall be kept separate from prisoners serving a sentence; civil prisoners shall be kept separate from prisoners imprisoned for criminal charges; young prisoners shall be kept separate from adults (Rule 11).

             In respect to general living conditions, “it is not desirable to have two prisoners in the same cell or room”. Every prisoner should occupy a cell or room alone with the exception of temporary overcrowding. Every prisoner must have access to clean bedroom facilities that shall meet the requirements of health, dignity, and hygiene. Adequate bathing and shower installation must be provided at least once a week in temperate climates and for another kind of climates only taking into account each season and geographical particularities. Also, proper and clean clothing is a necessity for the maintenance of hygiene. Moreover, food and water restrictions are prohibited. Prisoners should be provided with nutritious food at fixed hours and drinking water whenever they need it. The Rules require certain conditions for prisoners who work in respect to the general need for fresh air and light of natural or artificial kind. But those prisoners who are not employed in outdoor work should have at least one hour of exercise in open air daily or access to physic and recreational training (Rule 12 – 23).

            In regards to health-care services, the Rules sustain that every prison should have at least one competent public health body who bears the responsibility of evaluating a prisoner’s health prior to admission and in the course of imprisonment. It has, also, the task of protecting and improving the physical and mental health of prisoners, and of regularly inspecting and advising the prison director and the prison staff.

            Prisoners should have access to the same standards of healthcare as any human being. All prisoners who require specialized treatment or surgery must be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. No discriminations are allowed, but rather particular treatments for those with special health care needs. For example, prisons should provide special accommodations and treatments for women being in postnatal care. Furthermore, a child can be allowed to stay with his mother in the prison facility, but only taking into account the best interest of the child concerned. The child of the prisoner must be provided with specific child-related health-care services and helped by specialized childcare staffed, and moved to special facilities when they are not in the care of their parent. An important mention is that children living with their incarcerated parent should never be treated as prisoners.

            Other provisions express the absolute prohibition of scientific experiments that may affect the prisoner’s health, such as the removal of prisoner’s cells, body tissues or organs. But they may be allowed to participate in clinical trials and other health researchers only with their free and informed consent and only in accordance with national and international laws (Rule 24 – 35).

            With the purpose of keeping the discipline and order among all prisoners, the prison stuff must take certain actions, but only in respect to each prisoner’s dignity. Idealistic would be that no more restrictions will be used, but the reality is more ruthless and sometimes only authority can make a change in a person’s behavior. Even so, there shouldn’t be more restrictions than it’s necessary to “ensure safe custody, secure operation of the prison and a well-ordered community life” (Rule 36). The use of torture or other inhuman or degrading treatments or punishments as a form of disciplinary sanction is strictly forbidden. Prison staff is encouraged to use conflict prevention techniques such as mediation or other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to prevent and resolve conflicts (Rule 38). However, the prisoner who suffers from mental illness or intellectual disability will not be sanctioned in this way and, most likely, will only be removed to a separate facility. No prisoner will be deprived of his or her general living conditions addressed in these rules with no exception (Rule 42).

            In addition, the Nelson Mandela Rules are the first international instrument in which limitations on the use of solitary confinement are regulated. This form of punishment refers to the “confinement of a prisoner for 22 hours or more without meaningful human contact”. Prolonged solitary confinement lasts for 15 consecutive days and is prohibited.

            Solitary confinement should be used only with the proper authorization regulated by national laws and only in exceptional cases as a last resort for a short period of time. It is strictly prohibited for prisoners with mental illnesses or physical disabilities only if their conditions would worsen. Also, the usage of such a practice on pregnant women and children is severely forbidden (Rule 44 – 45).

            So, the following practices are prohibited: indefinite solitary confinement; placement of a prisoner in a dark or constantly lit cell; corporal punishment or the reduction of a prisoner’s diet or drinking water; collective punishment. Instruments of restraint which are deeply inhuman such as chains, irons or other instruments of restraint must never be applied as a sanction for disciplinary offenses. Another instrument of restraint must be used only in certain regulated circumstances and only if allowed by laws (Rule 43 and Rule 47). Also, the family contact may only be limited, but not prohibited for an indeterminate period of time. 

            In this context, the health-care services have only the role of detecting and reporting to the prison director the adverse effects of disciplinary sanctions on the mental and physical health of a prisoner subject to a permitted form of punishment (Rule 46).

            Sometimes searches of prisoners and cells are a requirement to keep the security in the prison facility, but they must be conducted in respect to the principles of proportionality, legality, and necessity, and only taking into consideration each prisoner’s right to privacy and inherent human dignity. Prior to admission, every prisoner should be informed about the prison law and regulations, obligations as a detainee, and all other important matters necessary for the adjustment to prison life. They, also, have the right to make complaints and requests which must be resolved promptly by the prison administration. If the request or complaint is rejected or not answered, the prisoner must have the possibility to address a higher judicial authority.

            Regarding the contact of prisoners with the outside world, they must be permitted to communicate with their families and friends through phones or letters, and to receive visits on a regular schedule. Of course, conjugal visits must be allowed with no distinction between men and women (Rule 58). Besides, every prisoner should have the possibility of informing his or her family as soon as possible in the cases of imprisonment, transfer to another institution and any other serious illness or injury. As well, in respect to freedom of religion, access to qualified representatives of the religious cult must not be restricted. Moreover, if there is a considerable amount of prisoners of the same religion, a qualified representative must be appointed or approved (Rule 65).

            In this highly sensitive environment, the necessity of specialized training for the prison stuff emerges explicitly through the paragraphs of this international legal framework. The Rules requests training for employees prior to entry into service as well as ongoing in-service. The minimum training model should include security and safety, the concept of dynamic security, the use of force and instruments of restraint, the management of violent offenders, and legal rights and obligations.

            The prison administration must make the necessary arrangements for the future reintegration of prisoners into society. They should be helped to continue to take part in the community, and not consider themselves as being excluded. Prisons should take into serious consideration that different groups of people may have different needs, thus if they are treated in the same way, you might achieve equality, but not equity. So, they should be differentiated by “criminal records, physical and mental capacities and aptitudes, personal temperament, the length of his or her sentence and prospects of release” (Rule 92).

            Methods such as education, vocational guidance, social casework, employment counseling, physical development and strengthening of moral character must be synchronized with the individual needs of each prisoner. Another useful method is the process of classification and individualization for prisoners with the purpose of eliminating bad influence from detainees with a concerning criminal record and personality “in order to facilitate their treatment with a view of social rehabilitation” (Rule 93).

             To ensure reintegration and reduce recidivism, the prisoner must be able to sustain himself economically after release. So, he should be provided with job prospects, education and meaningful activities. Any work should have the purpose of helping the detainee to accumulate practice in a job he will most likely continue upon his release. Also, learning opportunities should be at the core of the prison system. And a prison library must be available for all.

            Despite all these, the Nelson Mandela Rules are a source of so-called soft law, thus being non-binding for state parties, but still representing a highly valuable commitment made by all Member States to acknowledge and recognize the principle issues regarding the treatment of detainees in prison facilities. As a result of it, all Member States have the moral obligation of adapting the provision of the presented resolution with their domestic legal framework, bearing in mind the spirit and the purposes of the Rules. So, all signed parties are encouraged to improve the conditions of detention for all prisoners by any means possible taking into account all the relevant and applicable international provisions and good practices.

            Even so, there are still many problems to be resolved by future international laws. For example, overcrowding is still an international problem and may be reduced if non-custodial measures will finally be unanimously accepted and applied as a general rule, and pre-trial detention only as an absolutely necessary exception. Far too many people are found not guilty or sentenced to a minor sanction that doesn’t require imprisonment, thus suffering, in this process, completely unnecessary from a public stigma as they are no longer presumed to be innocent by the general public opinion and are usually treated as criminals by the mainstream media.

Edited By: Rachit Mehrotra

14
Apr

AFTERCARE OF PRISONERS (REHABILITATION)

Written By:  Shajeeda Tajdeen

The main objective behind putting a person behind bars is to stop and prevent him from indulging into illegal and criminal activities and also to make him a better person so as to meet the needs and demand of the society. Basically, the ultimate goal of prison and correctional administration is to rehabilitate the prisoners in the mainstream of the society.

Thus the aftercare process plays a vital role in reducing the social isolation and dependence faced by an offender once he is out of the prison. It creates a base for the offender to start his new life with a new hope because the stigma that an offender faces after coming out from the prison if not eradicated or not treated properly can put the offender’s present and future at stake.

No doubt prisons are considered to be the most useful institution of correctional administration but their scope is only limited to the four walls and behind the bars in the jail. The moment an offender is released, he has to face the world at large, where he is seen with suspicion and his behavior is questioned at every step, so it becomes really difficult for him to move ahead in his life due to lack of moral, social and economic support.

A person who is released from the prison needs physical and emotional support and he should also be counseled for acquiring a positive approach towards life because imprisonments cause shock, demoralization, dismemberment to him and his family.

On the other hand, the situation and the surrounding in jails are not totally suitable for rehabilitation process due to various hurdles such as:

  • There is no check on custodial torture in prisons
  • There are no vocational training programs to train the poor, illiterate and unskilled population in the prisons.
  • The prisons in India lack infra-structural facilities, cleanliness and hygienic environment.
  • There is no proper method for classifying the prisoners, convicts of civil, criminal and heinous crimes all are mostly kept in the same jails.

The Apex Court has also issued guidelines with respect to the self-improvement and correctional therapy used in prisons by majorly emphasizing on three points.

  • A person in custody does not become a ‘non-person’.
  • That a prisoner is entitled to human rights within limitations of imprisonment.
  • There is no justification for aggravating the sufferings of prisoners during the period of imprisonment.

The aftercare or rehabilitation program should include providing employment, providing adequate training to skilled labor and manpower, financial support to start their life or for self-employment, providing them with shelters etc.

It is the duty of the government and the system to take care of its citizen and to provide them with adequate means which are necessary for their survival. But the major problem in India is that the Government believes and follows the rule that by merely putting a convict or an accused behind bars it has fulfilled its task of saving the society and curbing the crime. It fails to realize that many times poverty and lack of facilities and non-acceptance from the fellow members of the society sow seeds of crime and negativity in an individual.

Rehabilitation should be considered as understanding the needs of those who are going to face the unkind and unsophisticated world outside.

Edited By:    Gaurav Agarwal

13
Apr

NEED OF SPEEDY TRIALS

Written By: Rajan Mishra

Today in India, speedy trial is a demand or I would rather say is need of the hour. Everyone who has ever been part or victim of Indian Judicial system knows how much the delay in our system has hurt. Although alternatives such as ADR are a very good thing to go for it is an alternative which cannot be used for criminal cases. If anyone has been the biggest victim of this system, it is our prisoners, the prisoners who are innocent and are on trial. The prisoners who are detained for a time period for a crime much longer time period than the time mentioned in the law of imprisonment of that offense. The prisoners get their lives, carriers, jobs everything destroyed because of such slow trial which goes on and on in Indian courts. This lack of speedy trial has not only been the reason for such problems in innocent prisoner’s life but it also has been one of the reasons why people bribe to get themselves out of any such type of long trials. And today in India about more than And today in India about more than 67.5% prisoners which are 2,45,222, are under trial and Indian jails are overly crowded with a national average of 115%. So any layman will very easily guess that if we make our trials faster then we will be able to reduce the number of prisoners in jail and the load on the system will reduce and less number of persons in jail will directly mean less number of human rights violation which also is a very big issue in front of innocent prisoners Undertrial. These long drives snatching the golden opportunities from many people. The prisoner who is not guilty but is kept in jail get their carriers public image social status everything destroyed just because of the late trials being done. Prisoners face in humanitarian behavior in jails. They are mentally harassed, physically tortured, economically exploited and even sexually abused in jail. Due to such delay in trials, the jails are overcrowded which results in mixing of criminals and under trial prisoners, without any fault when someone is locked in a jail he or she gets frustrated from the system and also get from the person with whom he or she is spending time in jail. The problem gets worse for female prisoners. These prisoners also economically exploited mentally harassed physically tortured but these women are sexually harassed too. There have been several cases in which these women have been offered bail in return for sexual favors. These female prisoners, due to such late trial get irritated and in order to escape these places except offers from people who get the bill and after that many of such businesses are made to enter prostitution. If speedy trials are done then it will solve many problems such as-

It will solve the problem of overcrowded jails (2,45,222) under trial prisoners.

It will save thousands of innocent prisoners who are a victim of such slow system.

It will reduce corruption done in order to escape such trials and long procedures.

The greatest relief will be that there will be less human rights violation in Indian prisons.

So to conclude I would say that speedy trials should be encouraged and orders given by the Indian courts regarding speedy trials should be strictly acted upon.These trials will not only give innocent prisoners a second chance but also help to restore the reducing faith of people in our judicial system.

Edited By: Rachit Mehrotra

6
Apr

International standards for women offenders and prisoners 2

Written By: Florina Laza

The Bangkok Rules are a so-called soft law instrument which means they are not legally binding like conventions, but they express an international commitment from all member states (193 member states of UN) and over time can become “good practice“, growing as influential as legally binding conventions. They apply to women prisoners in pre-trial detention, serving a sentence, women subject to non-custodial measures (pre-trial) or non-custodial sanctions (post-conviction), women offenders subject to corrective measures and women detained under “protective” custody. Some of the rules apply equally to both men and women, especially those relating to parental responsibility, medical services or searching procedures, and other only refer to the situation of the children of prisoners.

            This international instrument aims to create the main guideline for policymakers, legislators, sentencing authorities and prison stuff. As a result of it, finally, the unnecessary suffering for women in prisons may be reduced significantly. Because of the harsh conditions completely unsuited for women, they tend to have fewer chances in reintegration, leading even to recidivism as a way of survival. And considering that women are the primary caretaker of young children, even short periods of detention can have a damaging impact on a child’s normal growth.

            There are many international instruments that create an all-encompassing image of the international framework for the treatment of prisoners or offenders serving alternative sanctions. These include the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), which were initially adopted in 1955 and recently revised in 2015, and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules). The UN Bangkok Rules have the purpose of filling in the missing parts of the others, coming to supplement rather than replace the Nelson Mandela Rules and the Tokyo Rules.

The Nelson Mandela Rules present a set of minimum international legal standards for the treatment of prisoners. They have been used as a model for the creation of specific national legislation by governments from all around the world. They were, of course, an important step forward for a better civilization, considering that all UN member states committed to addressing all the required conditions and norms. The Tokyo Rules were adopted in 1990 and came in handy for the promotion of non-custodial measures and minimum safeguards for people subject to alternatives to imprisonment. All those international instruments create international standards, generally speaking, the Nelson Mandela Rules supplementing only in some areas the Bangkok Rules, and the Tokyo Rules only refer to non-specific provisions aiming the protection of men and women equally. And so, those specific provisions aspire to protect female prisoners who are in prison awaiting trial or serving prison sentences following a conviction, female offenders sentenced to non-custodial sanctions and children of the imprisoned parent.
Without a doubt, the adoption of the Bangkok Rules represented a major step forward in recognizing the gender-specific needs of women in the criminal justice system, providing a good example for government ministries, policymakers, legislators, prison authorities and staff, prison healthcare services, probation and parole services, and prison monitoring bodies.
They contain a wide range of healthcare and rehabilitation programs, necessary training for prison staff and, of course, supplementary assessments for visiting rights. This means a required reproductive healthcare, gender-specific medical treatments, prevention for substance abuse, well-prepared responses for mental health and indispensable access to preventive health care such as breast cancer screening. There is, also, a prohibition of solitary confinement or disciplinary segregation for pregnant women, women with infants and breastfeeding mothers. Furthermore, women should be treated with humanity and dignity, emphasizing on search procedures. For example, they should be searched by female guards and not by the man who often sees an opportunity in using their authority in harassing and humiliating them. It is common knowledge that women prisoners are particularly vulnerable to all forms of sexual misconduct by prison staff and other prisoners. The Rules also demand a special treatment for mothers prior to admission, so they can find the most appropriate alternative childcare.
In conclusion, the society made huge improvements over the years in respect to the protection of incarcerated women in prison facilities offering a tremendous scale of model provisions that don’t require additional resources for their implementation. What is to be truly changed is the common prejudice of people when it comes to a women role in the society, her image, and her reputation, because all these affect her reintegration and her ability to live her life in a proper manner. Moreover, the international community should implement gender-sensitive alternatives to detention, because imprisonment has become more of an ineffective tool than a useful one, often destroying any chances of a future outside the prison facility.

Edited By: Rachit Mehrotra

5
Apr

International standards for women offenders and prisoners

Written By: Florina Laza

(The Bangkok Rules)

            Do you get a sense of deja vu when you hear in the media about the poor conditions in our prisons? But how this would affect your judgment if the subject of discussion would be your grandmother, mother, aunt, sister or your dear female friend?

            More than half a million women and girls are currently being detained in prisons all around the world. But the majority of people in prison are men; women constitute only an estimated two to nine percent of national person population globally. Even so, the percentage of women has increased significantly in recent years, and at a faster rate than that of men. However, because the vast majority of lawbreakers are male, the prisons have been designed for centuries to respond to the needs of the majority male prison population. In this context, women’s specific needs are often overlooked and overshadowed by those of men, even in high-income countries.

            There are many characteristics that set the differences between the needs of men and women, and they need to be acknowledged and understand. Biologically speaking, women are simply different from men, having other physical features, needs, and psychological predispositions. Women need a more sensitive approach when it comes to healthcare and hygiene needs considering that some of them are pregnant or could suffer other medical implications. In this frame of reference, Julie Bilotta study case represents a good example of how women needs are ignored and treated arbitrarily by the prison employees.

            Almost 6 years ago, in Canada, a pregnant woman named Julie Bilotta was sent to pre-trial detention for drug and fraud-related charges. Shortly after, she started to feel labor pains, but the medical staff told her she was only in phantom labor and prescribed her digestive medicines. The pains became greater and she started to complain louder hoping someone might help her, but the prison guard told her to “shut up” and moved her to a segregated cell as a form of punishment. Only when the baby’s feet emerged the prison stuff called for an ambulance, but Julie was already giving birth in a prison cell in worst conditions possible. Because of the prison and medical stuff lack of interest, the baby was born with respiratory problems and the mother needed to be hospitalized for a blood transfusion. Her case proves without a doubt how specific female needs are overshadowed by the sense of false authority and justice.

            In contrast with usual male prisoner patterns, the stories behind the crimes are different for women offenders, the circumstances are particular and the determining factors of a criminal offense can only be subject to specific psychological approaches. Usually, they are driven by poverty and a sense of responsibility to support their families when committing criminal offenses such as theft, fraud, and minor drug-related offenses. Only a small minority of women are convicted of violent crimes. Nevertheless, it is estimated that a large percentage of women have been victims of violence themselves in their lives. A study conducted in 1999 at Bedford Hills correctional facility in the US shows that 94% of women prisoners have experienced physical and sexual abuse in their lifetime. Experts say that prior abuse in a women life may result in a criminal behavior.

            The most common profile is constituted by the image of a young woman, usually, unemployed who dropped out of school has children to take care of, and because of their lack of education, they also have no knowledge about their rights in criminal justice and prison settings.

            All these conclude to the fact that women have certain characteristics and needs that must be taken care of by all authorities around the world. But even so, right now we are talking about centuries of a so-called “tradition” when it comes to the higher representation of men in prisons, thus resulting in a system designed especially to meet the needs of men. We could even say that discrimination against women in prisons stays at the core of the justice system, particularly because of well-known stigma based on the traditional gender roles. While women regularly support their incarcerated partners, women prisoners don’t enjoy the same treatment. They are often abandoned by their husbands and even by their whole family.

            All international instruments support the principle of non-discrimination that is based on Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”. The next article underlines once more how insignificant distinctions of any kind are between individuals when it comes to acknowledging rights and freedoms: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or another status”.

But we must remember that treating everyone as equal does not lead to equity or justice. So equal treatment does not result in equal outcomes, and discrimination may come in many forms. On those terms, the international community recognized that there was a clear gap in the international framework with respect to the correct treatment of women in prisons. And finally, in 2010, a regulated set of rules designed to embrace those specific needs became a reality when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Resolution A/RES/65/229. They are the “The Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders”. They are, also, known as the Bangkok Rules, because they were initiated by the government of Thailand, Princess Bajrakitiyabha playing a major role in the development of the Rules.

            The Bangkok Rules are a so-called soft law instrument which means they are not legally binding like conventions, but they express an international commitment from all member states (193 member states of UN) and over time can become “good practice“, growing as influential as legally binding conventions. They apply to women prisoners in pre-trial detention, serving a sentence, women subject to non-custodial measures (pre-trial) or non-custodial sanctions (post-conviction), women offenders subject to corrective measures and women detained under “protective” custody. Some of the rules apply equally to both men and women, especially those relating to parental responsibility, medical services or searching procedures, and other only refer to the situation of the children of prisoners.

            This international instrument aims to create the main guideline for policymakers, legislators, sentencing authorities and prison stuff. As a result of it, finally, the unnecessary suffering for women in prisons may be reduced significantly. Because of the harsh conditions completely unsuited for women, they tend to have fewer chances in reintegration, leading even to recidivism as a way of survival. And considering that women are the primary caretaker of young children, even short periods of detention can have a damaging impact on a child’s normal growth.

            There are many international instruments that create an all-encompassing image of the international framework for the treatment of prisoners or offenders serving alternative sanctions. These include the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), which were initially adopted in 1955 and recently revised in 2015, and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules). The UN Bangkok Rules have the purpose of filling in the missing parts of the others, coming to supplement rather than replace the Nelson Mandela Rules and the Tokyo Rules.

The Nelson Mandela Rules present a set of minimum international legal standards for the treatment of prisoners. They have been used as a model for the creation of specific national legislation by governments from all around the world. They were, of course, an important step forward for a better civilization, considering that all UN member states committed to addressing all the required conditions and norms. The Tokyo Rules were adopted in 1990 and came in handy for the promotion of non-custodial measures and minimum safeguards for people subject to alternatives to imprisonment. All those international instruments create international standards, generally speaking, the Nelson Mandela Rules supplementing only in some areas the Bangkok Rules, and the Tokyo Rules only refer to non-specific provisions aiming the protection of men and women equally. And so, those specific provisions aspire to protect female prisoners who are in prison awaiting trial or serving prison sentences following a conviction, female offenders sentenced to non-custodial sanctions and children of the imprisoned parent.
Without a doubt, the adoption of the Bangkok Rules represented a major step forward in recognizing the gender-specific needs of women in the criminal justice system, providing a good example for government ministries, policymakers, legislators, prison authorities and staff, prison healthcare services, probation and parole services, and prison monitoring bodies.
They contain a wide range of healthcare and rehabilitation programs, necessary training for prison staff and, of course, supplementary assessments for visiting rights. This means a required reproductive healthcare, gender-specific medical treatments, prevention for substance abuse, well-prepared responses for mental health and indispensable access to preventive health care such as breast cancer screening. There is, also, a prohibition of solitary confinement or disciplinary segregation for pregnant women, women with infants and breastfeeding mothers. Furthermore, women should be treated with humanity and dignity, emphasizing on search procedures. For example, they should be searched by female guards and not by the man who often sees an opportunity in using their authority in harassing and humiliating them. It is common knowledge that women prisoners are particularly vulnerable to all forms of sexual misconduct by prison staff and other prisoners. The Rules also demand a special treatment for mothers prior to admission, so they can find the most appropriate alternative childcare.
In conclusion, the society made huge improvements over the years in respect to the protection of incarcerated women in prison facilities offering a tremendous scale of model provisions that don’t require additional resources for their implementation. What is to be truly changed is the common prejudice of people when it comes to a women role in the society, her image, and her reputation, because all these affect her reintegration and her ability to live her life in a proper manner. Moreover, the international community should implement gender-sensitive alternatives to detention, because imprisonment has become more of an ineffective tool than a useful one, often destroying any chances of a future outside the prison facility.

Edited By: Rachit Mehrotra