Improve prison conditions: OAG

  • Prisoners’ daily allowance was recently increased from Rs 45 to Rs 60

Kathmandu, August 21

The Integrated Report on Custody and Prison Monitoring, 2018, released by the Office of the Attorney General today has identified a wide range of problems jailbirds and detainees have been facing in prisons and custody rooms across the country.

Though the government recently increased the daily allowance of jailbirds to Rs 60 from the previous Rs 45, inspection and monitoring conducted by the OAG concluded that the increment was still too little to keep up with the cost of living, bearing in mind the inflation.

“The jailbirds have demanded that the government further increase the daily allowance. They also want increment in the fine amount to be deducted from jail sentence,” read the report.

The OAG had conducted monitoring of 31 prisons to take stock of their conditions.

Prisons with total capacity of 4,308 persons had been cramped with 7,909 jailbirds and inmates. Of them, 464 were women and 36 minors. “While some of the prisons are headed by office assistants, some don’t even have employees as per the number of postings. Similarly, the post of health workers has been lying vacant is many prisons and prisons lack essential medicines,” the report states.

There are no separate rooms for visiting relatives and lawyers at the prisons. The jail facilities are also devoid of formal education and literacy programmes. “Prisoners and detainees have been kept in the same rooms. While it is necessary to keep minors separately, the prisons are not doing so. Some prisons have not even maintained records of prisoners and detainees’ visit with their lawyers,” it reads.

No prison has special arrangement for persons with disabilities, third gender and senior citizens. Prisoners and detainees have been deprived of regular medical check-up and treatment.

The report has made a 29-point recommendation to the government and the authorities concerned for  improvement of physical infrastructure and basic amenities of prisons to ensure that prisoners and inmates are treated humanely. “Prisons should be developed as correctional and skill development centres, and houses of repentance to encourage them to develop positive thinking,” it said.

The OAG has also told the government to arrange essential services as guaranteed by the constitution and prevailing laws, increase the daily allowance of jailbirds, implement the concept of ‘open prison’, install CCTV cameras, ensure the access of prisoners and detainees to justice, review the existing prison management procedure, establish library and provide sufficient textbooks to them, provide vocational training to them, among others.