- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Police & Prison Reform
Context: Uttarakhand government recently issued a notification to post IPS officers as superintendents of prisons.
- Appointment of Police against Correctional Administration: The decision to appoint police officers as heads of the prison department, a practice that goes against the philosophy of correctional administration, was started in the 1980s, on grounds of strengthening security and to control corruption.
- Difference in Training: Police personnel are recruited and trained to detect crime and maintain law and order, while prison officers are recruited and trained to reform and rehabilitate offenders.
- Against Principle of Separation of powers: Appointing police officers in prisons either as superintendents or as jailors amounts to a violation of the principle of separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution.
- Purview of Judicial System: The meaning of judicial custody is that the police investigation is over and the accused is now taken out of police custody and handed over to the prison custody under the supervision of the judiciary.
- Systemic Pressure on Prison Officials: Prison officers are a demotivated lot, often at the receiving end of a criminal justice system and the media, which is quick to highlight their misdemeanours and violations without going into the systemic reasons for the same.
- Specialised Force recommended: Various prison reform committee reports like the Justice Mulla Committee on Prison Reforms Report (1983) and the Justice Krishna Iyer Committee on Women Prisoners Report (1987) have advocated that prisons should be houses of reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners and their families, and have recommended the creation of a specialised All India Prison Service along the lines of the IPS or IAS
- Increased Investment: We do not invest in the prison system in terms of resources and staff. In order to improve prison administration, increased investment has to go into infrastructure and training of prison officials
- Involve Civil Society: We need to appoint social workers and counsellors in sufficient numbers.
- Training: We need to conduct regular training in human rights and social reintegration for prison staff.
- Filling up vacancies: We need to fill vacancies, which are as high as 30 to 40 per cent as per the India Justice Report 2020.
- Professional Rewards: We need to create sufficient scope for upward mobility for prison officers, so that good work can be rewarded with promotions.
Connecting the dots: