New bill ensures reproductive rights of inmates

Kathmandu, December 25

The Prison Bill-2019, registered at the Secretariat of the House of Representatives, stipulates a provision to ensure reproductive rights of the legitimate couples doing time in jail.

According to section 23 of the bill, the prison administration shall allow the couple to meet each other for the purpose of protecting their right to reproduction. The bill, which will substitute the existing Prison Act-1963, has also proposed a provision for granting permission to male and female jailbirds for marriage.

“If male and female inmates, who are serving sentence in the same prison and have attained the legal age, wish to tie the knot, they shall have to submit an application to the prison administration for marriage registration.

Even any male or female, who is not doing time in jail, can marry an inmate by fulfilling the same procedure,” states section 28 of the bill.

If the prison administration receives an application, it shall write to the concerned agency for marriage registration.

It will require the prison administration to take the inmates along with security personnel to the district administration office for marriage registration on the day as prescribed by the DAO.

The bill proposes special provisions for accommodation, food and health facilities for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers doing time in jail. As per section 37, if a female inmate, who is in the second trimester of her pregnancy, wishes to go home or somewhere else inside the country for pregnancy care and other health services, the prison administration shall grant permission against bank guarantee, on the condition that she will return to the prison after completion of 60 days of childbirth. Article 38 (2) of the constitution states that every woman shall have the right to safe motherhood and reproductive health.

However, no pregnant woman sentenced to jail for life and convicted of heinous crime shall be entitled to such facility. “If the pregnant woman, who is temporarily released on parole, fails to report to the prison within the stipulated time, security personnel shall be deployed to produce her before the jail, besides confiscation of her bank guarantee,” reads the bill.

The bill requires the prison administration to pay special attention to the care of inmates with physical and mental disabilities and those suffering from terminal diseases and having attained the age of 65.