Prison Bill requires separate housing for female inmates

Kathmandu, January 9

The Prison Bill-2019, recently registered at the Secretariat of the House of Representatives requires prison administration to accommodate female and male prisoners in separate buildings.

As per section 15 of the bill, there shall be a provision of separate buildings for female and male jailbirds in all prisons. “In case it is not possible to make arrangement of separate buildings for female and male jailbirds, they may be confined on separate floors of the same building. Arrangement should be made to prevent them from meeting or conversing with each other,” it reads.

The bill stipulates a provision requiring separate toilet and bathroom for female and male jailbirds.

Prison administration shall confine sexual minorities, jailbirds or inmates infected with communicable diseases, mentally unsound inmates, over 65 years of age and convicts of heinous crimes in separate rooms, according to the bill.

“Toilets and bathrooms in prisons shall be disabled-friendly,” it reads. The government shall establish a hospital on premises of prison with capacity of more than 1,500 jailbirds and a health post on premises of a prison having jailbirds from 500 to 1,500.

“If a hospital or a health post can’t be established, concerned prison administration shall coordinate with the nearest health facility for health check-up and medical care of the prisoners,” reads section 16 of the bill.

Around 74 jails in the country with total capacity of just 15,466 persons have been crammed with more than 23,500 inmates, according to the Department of Prison Management.

National and international rights bodies have long criticised the government’s poor handling of jailbirds. Increased crime rate has led to overcrowded prisons.

Various studies conducted in the past had recommended concerned authorities to improve the situation of prisoners and personnel working in prisons.

According to a study by the National Human Rights Commission, prison facilities range from poor to dilapidated state, they are overcrowded and usually lack minimum amenities.

The bill also requires the government to strengthen the security of all prisons by installing CCTV cameras and making arrangement of power backup system for round-the-clock power supply.