Occupancy Rate In J&K Jails 142 Percent

Srinagar Central Jail – File Photo

Prisoners Don’t Cease To Be Human Beings, Entitled To All Fundamental Rights: Justice Magrey

Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday acknowledged overcrowding in jails, as 5148 inmates are currently lodged in 14 jails spread across the Union Territory against the sanctioned capacity of 3629.

The details about overcrowding in jails were shared by the officials with Justice Magrey, Executive Chairman J&K Legal Services Authority during a high-level meeting on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by Additional Chief Secretary Home, R. K. Goyal; DG Prisons, HK Lohia; Principal Secretary Estates Department, Alok Kumar, Secretary Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, Achal Sethi and Member Secretary, J&K LSA, M. K. Sharma, an official spokesperson said.

Justice Magey, he said, directed the officials that prisoners should be provided all basic facilities as they do not cease to be human beings and are entitled to all fundamental rights.

He further said that Justice Magrey also impressed upon the participating members to increase the frequency of counselling of the prisoners and ensure their proper rehabilitation after they are released from the prisons.

During the meeting, the spokesperson said, Goyal apprised Justice Magrey about the existing facilities available for the detenues in different prisons of J&K and the improvements made in the near past.

“It was informed that against the sanctioned capacity of 3629 in 14 jails of the UT of J&K there are as many as 5148 inmates. Therefore, the average occupancy rate of prisons in J&K is 142%,” he said.

However, the spokesperson added that the meeting was informed that the government is considering the raising of infrastructure to ensure decongestion in jails.

“Justice Magrey was further informed that in the year 2022, a total of 425 e-mulakats were held between the inmates and their relatives,” he said.

“The agenda of the meeting was Access to Justice for persons in custody/detention, review of prison population and overcrowding thereof, Counselling & Rehabilitation of prisoners,” he added.

According to the spokesperson, it was resolved that the Government shall make all the endeavors to provide quality food, proper medical care and appropriate space in the jails for legal aid clinics so that the detenues are not deprived of the legal assistance.

He further said that Justice Magrey was informed that 5 IGNOU study centres are functional in 5 jails while it was also resolved that IGNOU study centres shall be established in the remaining jails also.

Regarding the shifting of the office of J&K LSA to some appropriate place, the spokesperson said that it was resolved that as and when the office of the Transport Commissioner is vacated after shifting to the new building, the Estates Department shall initiate the process of allotment of the said office space for the office of J&K LSA.

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