Kathmandu, May 20
The Department of Prison Management has said 17 new prison structures are under construction in as many districts.
The buildings are being constructed with the financial support from the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction. The total estimated budget for the construction of new prison buildings is around Rs 1.677 billion, said the DoMP.
The structures will be constructed in Sarlahi, Sindhuli, Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Kavrepalanchowk, Nawalparasi, Palpa, Manang, Mugu, Dolpa, Humla, Jumla, Surkhet, Jajarkot, Dailekh, Bajhang and Dadeldhura districts.
Similarly, women prison houses will be constructed in Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap, Rasuwa, Jagannathdewal, Nakhu, Gorkha, Lamjung and Dhading districts with support of the National Reconstruction Authority.
An official at the DoPM said a women prison was recently completed and brought to operation in Jhumka, Sunsari and construction of men’s prison was initiated in Bhimphedi, Makwanpur.
The DoPM has intensified the construction, reconstruction and upgradation of prisons across the country after the 2015 earthquakes caused massive damage on the already dilapidated structures of 54 prisons. A women’s block is under construction in Lalitpur-based Nakkhu Jail and prisons in Dhading, Chitwan, Dang, Rasuwa, Jagannath Dewal (Kathmandu) are being upgraded.
The new initiative is expected to ease the pressure on overcrowded prisons. Overcrowding in prisons is a growing challenge for prison management in the country. There are 74 prisons housing over 18,000 inmates in 72 districts against their capacity of 10,000 inmates.
Meanwhile, the government has already acquired around 535 ropanis of land in Banke for the construction of open prison with the capacity of over 5,000 persons. An open prison is a penal establishment where prisoners, who have served at least half their jail term and have demonstrated good conduct, are trusted to do their time with minimal supervision.
The DoPM said it is making special arrangements to put jailbirds convicted of heinous crimes under special surveillance as such inmates were found operating criminal network from the jails.
A version of this article appears in print on May 21, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.