Karachi, April 15, 2016 (PPI-OT):Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that he was committed to introduce effective and efficient jail reforms. “Whatever my government has done so far is not enough but much more is needed to turn jails into correction houses.” This he said while presiding over a meeting regarding jail reforms in the light of Supreme Court instructions and the findings of Federal Ombudsman here at the CM House today.
The meeting was attended by representative of federal ombudsman Mr Shakeel Durrani, Principal Secretary to CM Alamuddin Bullo, Home Secretary Jamal Shah, IG Jail Nusrat Mangan and others. He said that there were 25 jails in the province with a capacity of about 12000 inmates but more than 21000 have been imprisoned there. “This overcrowding is root cause of several other problems. The objective to turn the jails into correction houses could not be achieved with the present living conditions for which effective measures are need of hour,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that he had been paying surprise visits of central jail Karachi and some other jails. “I have tested food of Karachi Central jail, its naans are very tasty and quality of food is considerably better,” he said and added that being a political worker he was not satisfied with the plight of the jails.
Mr Shakeel Durrani, who represented Federal Ombudsman, said that reforms were required in the jail manual, segregation of under trial and convicted prisoners, improvement in educational, recreational activities by introducing professional, technical education/courses and arrangement for an endowment fund meant for the welfare of prisoners.
The Chief Minister said that there was a need of an inspection team which could conduct inspection whenever they want, including at night. “In the nights what happens in the jails is not known. I am of the view, apart from inspection there should be an electronic vigilance of the inmates and of the jail officials,” he suggested. IG Jail Nusrat Mangan said that there were separate jails for children, women and others. In Karachi, Hyderabad and Larkana there are separate jails for children, women and adults. He has a proper inspection arrangement for ever jail.
Home Secretary Syed Jamal Shah said that the idea of the chief minister to turn jails in correction houses need collective wisdom to envisage a comprehensive plan for welfare, character building and improve abnormal tendencies of the inmates. He added that for the purpose collective meetings of provincial authorities, federal Ombudsman and philanthropists and civil society members be involved to work out a workable plan.
The chief minister said that there was an important issue that most of the poor inmates, particularly the women, heirless children and foreigner used to have no money to pay their sureties and penalties. “The endowment fund to be funded by federal government, philanthropists and provincial government would be utilised to pay the penalties or sureties. Mr Shakeel Durrani suggested that the endowment fund would be started from Rs200 million and would be kept improving and enhancing.
The chief minister appreciated the guidelines of the supreme court for jail reforms and the efforts of the federal ombudsman and assured that he would not only support the reforms but would personally give his input. “I am keen to make the criminals languishing their lives in the jails as useful citizens,” he said and added that he himself has been imprisoned for years, therefore he knows the problems which happen with the inmates in the jails.
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