‘Open prison’, ‘rehabilitation house’ concepts to be implemented

KATHMANDU: The government on Wednesday said it would implement new concepts of ‘open prison’ and ‘rehabilitation house’ to ease the pressure of jailbirds in the already crowded prisons by making an amendment to the existing laws on prisons in the new fiscal year 2015-16.

An excerpt of the ‘Policy and Programmes of the Government of Nepal for Fiscal Year 2015-16’ presented by President Ram Baran Yadav at the Legislature-Parliament reads, “By amending the current laws regarding prisons, new concepts of prison management such as open prison and rehabilitation house will be implemented.”

The government has also announced that ‘work plan on the present reconstruction will be implemented because of the unequal ratio of number of prisoners and the capacity of prisons across the country and dilapidated conditions of the prisons and the damage caused by the earthquakes’.

Construction works for the proposed central prison in Nuwakot and regional prison in Banke will start shortly, according to government policy and programmes.

Earlier, the Department of Prison Management had informed that the government was moving ahead with the process of adopting the ‘open prison policy’ to ease the pressure of jailbirds in the already crowded prisons and to turn the prisons into correction centres as per the Prison Act, 1963.

The government has acquired a plot of land, around 535 ropanis, 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 country has 74 prisons in 72 of 75 districts.

Bhaktapur, Bara and Dhanusha districts do not have any prison while Kathmandu and Dang have two prisons each.

The prisons across the country with a total capacity of 10,434 persons are crammed with more than 16,000 jailbirds.