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Laws and Standards

The Prisons Act was introduced in India in 1894 amidst a climate of fear, repression, security concern and terror, regulating the incapacitation of swathes of indigenous population. It contained no provisions on their rights, or for their rehabilitation or reformation, or for their reintroduction into society on completion of sentence. The philosophy underlying the 1894 Prisons Act has since been superseded by minimum standards generally accepted as best practice both within India and by international agreement, reflecting wide consensus on standards applicable in the context of correctional administration. Given below are the national and international laws and standards recognized as guiding principles for the administration of the correctional system.

National laws and standards

Prisons Act, 1894
Prisoners Act, 1900
Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950
Prisoners [Attendance in Courts] Act, 1955
All India Committee on Jail Reforms Recommendations (Mulla Committee Recommendations), 1983
Major Recommendations contained in Justice Krishna Iyer Report on Women Prisoners, 1987
Model Prison Manual, 2003
Draft National Policy on Prison Reforms and Correctional Administration, BPR&D, 2007

International

United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners 1955
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966
Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials 1979
Principles of Medical Ethics Relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1982
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. - 1984
Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty 1984
Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power 1985
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules) 1985
Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners. - 1988
Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment. - 1990
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (The Tokyo Rules) 1990
United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (The Riyadh Guidelines) 1990
Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers 1990
Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors 1990
United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of Liberty. - 1990
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-Custodial Measures [The Tokyo Rules]. - 1990
Model Treaty on the Transfer of Supervision of Offenders Conditionally Sentenced or Conditionally Released. - 1990
United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty 1990
Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 1992
Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System 1997
Principles on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 2000
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (not yet into force)

For other related documents and standards, please visit the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/


 

 

Prison Reforms

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