Raise inmates’ daily allowance: OAG report

Kathmandu, February 4

The Office of the Attorney General has stressed increasing the daily allowance being provided to prisoners by the government.

Custody and Prison Monitoring Report recently published by the OAG says the  daily allowance of Rs 45 is too little to keep up with the cost of living bearing in mind the inflation in recent years. The government provides each prisoner with 700 grams of rice and an allowance of Rs 45 on a daily basis.

“It seems to be necessary to review the allowance in line with the current market price. While reviewing the allowance, the government should fix the allowance for prisoners in the Tarai, mountain and hill separately, according to the cost of living in the particular geographical region,” the report suggested. The OAG also recommended that the government provide clothes to the prisoners on the basis of the geographical region they are kept in.

The report paints a bleak picture of prisons and police custody cells across the country. The OAG said it had conducted inspection and monitoring in 52 districts to study the condition of prisoners and inmates. According to the report, there has been little progress in transforming prisons into rehabilitation centres in line with the Prison Act, 2019. Most of the prisons are overcrowded and are in dilapidated conditions.

The OAG recommended that the government upgrade existing amenities of the prisons and guarantee basic human rights, including sanitation, room space, quality food and regular health check-ups. Some 18,000 people are living in 74 prisons with capacity of around 11,000 persons. Jailbirds have also been denied sports and recreation facilities, skill training and adequate textbooks for formal education.

“Prisoners complained that there was no provision of regular medical check-up in prisons and custody cells. It is necessary to establish treatment centre within the prisons which houses more than 500 prisoners,” it said.  The country has 74 prisons in 72 of 75 districts. Bhaktapur, Bara and Dhanusha do not have any prison, while Kathmandu and Dang have two prisons each.