The Bureau of Police Research and Development is organizing a two-day National Conference on ‘Criminal Activities and Radicalization in Jails: Vulnerability of Inmates and Jail Staff and their Protection’ on 12th and 13th September. The conference was inaugurated earlier today at BPR&D Headquarters by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri G. Kishan Reddy. He delivered the keynote address in the presence of senior serving and retired officers of MHA, CAPF, State Police, academia, civil society organizations, prison officers along with BPR&D officers and staff.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Reddy enumerated various challenges in the field of correctional services and the need for a conscious policy to improve prison systems and associated human resources. He further mentioned that prison administration in the country since independence has been a matter of intense debate on various forums. Even the Supreme Court of India has expressed its concern over the conditions of prisons. Therefore, there is a need to ensure safety and security of the prisoners, improve the condition of living of prisoners and to convert the prison as a centre of reformation.
The Minister emphasized that prison system should not be allowed to aggravate sufferings during the process of imprisonment. He focused on the need to reform convicts and rehabilitate them back into the society. He also listed various challenges associated with prison reforms such as overcrowding in prisons, large number of under-trials, inadequate prison infrastructure, criminal activities and radicalization in jails, safety of women prisoners and their young children, along with shortage of funds and staff for proper prison administration.
Shri Reddy mentioned various steps taken by the Central Government over the last ten years to improve the conditions of prisons, such as fast track courts and Lok Adalats, both of which would reduce pendency and the number of under-trials, thus reducing the burden on the prison system. He mentioned the Scheme for Modernization of Prisons – a Central Government scheme with an outlay of 1800 crore rupees that aims to create 199 new jails, 1572 additional barracks and 8568 prison staff quarters.
Shri Reddy spoke of the immense scope for NGOs and civil society organizations in the aftercare and rehabilitation of convicts, and said that civil society participation in the field should be encouraged. He emphasized that public participation in correctional services is critical for strengthening the efforts towards reformation of prisoners
Also present on the dais were Shri V. S. K. Kaumudi, DG, BPR&D and other senior officers.