Two’s a crowd

The Department of Prison Management (DoPM) is currently having a hard time managing the

overflowing number of inmates in the Tarai. According to DoPM’s record, there is an acute shortage of space in prisons in Jhapa, Morang, Mahottari, Banke, Chitwan, Rupandehi and Makwanpur. In Morang, for instance, the prison has 482 inmates though the capacity accommodates only 250 prisoners. Even in Kathmandu Valley, two prisons at

Dillibazar and Nakkhu at present have 321 and 290 inmates respectively while their real capacity is at most 150 people each. Surprisingly, however, it is also revealed that prisons in 10 districts in the Hills

— Lamjung, Manang, Mustang, Rukum, Jajarkot, Mugu, Humla, Bajhang, Darchula and Kanchanpur — are without a single jailbird.

Overcrowded prisons can generate serious problems for prison authorities. It means that all the facilities, as guaranteed by the law, might not be provided to the excess number of inmates. Which, in turn, would have negative impact on the health and hygiene of the prisoners. The governments in the past talked much and loudly of jail reforms and also announced policies and programmes. But things have not improved much. The prisons should receive enough funds and there should be adequate space for prisoners. Besides, under cramped and jammed conditions, it will not be possible to bring about positive changes in the prisoners. Whereas their transformation should be one of the main functions of modern-day prison management.