CHRI launches two reports on alarming conditions in Indian prisons
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative has launched a set of unique reports that spotlight the dismal conditions in India’s prisons. These reports underline how a lack of review has led to alarming conditions in jails–with a huge under-trial population of which a majority is poor.
Two reports, Looking into the Haze: A Study on Prison Monitoring in India, and Circle of Justice: A National Report on Under Trial Review Committees on Prison Monitoring were presented to the media and human rights activists in Delhi.
Circle of Justice: A National Report on Under Trial Review Committees throws a sharp light on the plight of undertrials in India. Undertrials make up an astounding 67 percent of India’s prison population. These are men and women who have been incarcerated and have yet to be tried in a court of law for crimes they allegedly committed. The report is based on solid field research and is backed up by extensive use of the Right to Information law. This is the first national watch report of its kind to check compliance on the formation and functioning of these district level bodies as directed by the Supreme Court last year.
Looking into the Haze: A Study on Prison Monitoring in India is a must read for human rights activists and civil society organisations who care about a prisoner’s rights and good prison administration. The penal system in India is a closed institution that discourages independent monitoring leading to widespread abuse of legal and human rights among the jailed. Effective monitoring by qualified and sensitive independent monitors would stop mental and physical torture of prisoners. It will come as a shock to most readers that independent monitors regularly inspect less than one percent of prisons in India.