National Consultation on Prison Legal Aid at New Delhi, April 2013
A Two Day National Consultation on Prison Legal Aid was held at Indian Social Institute, Institutional Area Lodhi Road 13th to 14th April 2013. It was an initiative taken by Human Rights and Law Network. Many Activists & Lawyers women and men were participated from different parts of the state of India.
In India, eighty percent of the inmates in the jails are under trials. The major problems faced by these inmates are not only of not getting a trial but that of not being granted bail, inhuman treatment in jails, facing poor conditions, lack of proper medical treatment, etc. There are various statutes such as the Prisoners Act, 1894; the Model Manual Prison India, etc. and various precedents which have been laid down in landmark cases which provide for the rights which these prisoners are entitled to. However, the problem today lies not in the availability of these rights but in the implementation of these rights and precedents. We at HRLN, under the Prisoners Rights Initiative work towards helping these prisoners get their rightful treatment in the prisons, safeguard their access to a fair and speedy trial, facilitate bail procedures and work towards various other procedural requirements to ensure that these prisoners make efforts to only achieve reformation and don’t have to fight for their survival.
Issues of Concern
• 80% prisoners are under trials
• Even though bail is granted, prisoners are not released.
• Lack or insufficient provision of medical aid to prisoners
• Callous and insensitive attitude of jail authorities
• Punishment carried out by jail authorities not coherent with punishment given by court.
• Harsh mental and physical torture
• Lack of proper legal aid
• High amount of surety ordered by courts which indigent prisoners can’t pay
• Rejection of surety bonds due to lack of money or verification of addresses, as indigent prisoners don’t have houses.
• Corruption and other malpractices.
• Guard brutality and sexual abuse.
• Other unsafe physical conditions.
• Disability discrimination.
• Lack of mental health and medical care.
For any kind of legal and social help related to Prisoner’s Rights, one can contact Human Rights Law Network. For more, visit us at http://www.hrln.org/hrln/prisoners-rights.html
We at HRLN visit jails to have direct communication with the prisoners who have been in these prisons for years due to under trial. During the jail visits these lawyers or paralegal worker meet the prisoners and under trails directly and not only provide legal aid but also identify areas for work to be done. Many juveniles those were languishing in adult jails were released or transferred to Juvenile Homes. It has been very stately presumed that prisoners have undergone poor upkeep even when they are extremely sick. At HRLN we make it an agenda to ensure that sick prisoners are provided with better treatment.
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