Punjab jails to have double-storey barracks, utility stores
Punjab Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan on Saturday chaired a high level meeting during which it was decided that in order to increase the capacity new double-storey barracks would be built in different jails of the province and massive reforms would be introduced in prisons.
Similarly, utility stores will be set up instead of the canteen contracting system where prisoners will be able to get cheap items at control rates.
Law Minister Raja Muhammad Basharat, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Momin Ali Agha, Punjab Prisons IG, secretaries of various departments and representatives of the legal community participated in the high level meeting at the Chief Minister House.
Aleem Khan said that unfortunately Punjab jails are still working under the 1894 Act while there is a lot of work to be done on the legal aspects and internal reforms of jails for which practical work has now been started. He said the perception of jail from outside is very different while the environment inside is totally changed. “We have to use all resources to improve conditions inside the prisons and there is a need for recommendations from the civil society and legal experts.
The senior minister directed to improve the washing area and washrooms and provide the same facilities to all by making a jail a model one. He directed the officials to use the welfare funds allocated for the jails for betterment of the employees. The senior minister also announced bringing salaries of jail employees on a par with the employees of the Punjab Police.
Aleem Khan said that inmates should get basic facilities like shampoo, razor and soap in jail. He directed the home, law and prisons departments to work jointly for recommendations on reforms and work in a coordinated manner in line with the international standards.
During the meeting, Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja said the draft of Jail Act 2020 was in the final stage of preparation and welfare of women prisoners has been given a special priority in this draft. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Prisons IG briefed the meeting. The C&W secretary said the welfare work done by the Abdul Aleem Khan Foundation in Kot Lakhpat Jail had been declared a model and provision of similar facilities in other jails would be started soon.
The meeting was briefed on the Justice System Support Programme in which many recommendations have been prepared. A meeting will soon take place again in which approval will be given to start practical work on reforms in all jails of the Punjab province.