WOMEN PRISIONERS IN INDIA: A LEGAL ANALYSIS

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INTRODUCTION

“The female prison community has been overlooked: it merits study as does any other complex organization, in order to add to the growing body of theory on group behaviour.”- Giallombardo

 In millennia of evolution, imprisonment has emerged as a popular means of punishment. Prisons are regarded as places where offenders can be reformed, rather than merely places of punishment. A High Court judge advocates for a form of punishment that is therapeutically useful guidance from MHA on the management of the jail has emphasised the need of an ideal prison environment. The prison environment should be saturated with good ideals and the convicts should be motivated to excel should be exposed to a healthy and nurturing environment where necessary interventions can be provided themselves. A prison is a type of correctional facility that is designed to hold people who have broken the law. The goal of prisons is to reform those who are incarcerated. Despite this, prison institutions sometimes conceal violence and depravity behind their closed doors, which has a negative impact on the reform of inmates’ behaviour offenders. As a result, it is critical to recognise and implement the fundamental rights of inmates urge them to undergo reformation The issues associated with imprisonment become even more prominent in the context of incarceration. In the context of female inmates Prison systems are largely intended for male inmates and are hence masculine in nature Inadequate resources are available to meet the specific requirements of women in jail. According to the most recent information Only 17 percent of the population These women are imprisoned in prisons that are solely for women, although the majority of women are incarcerated in jails that are entirely for women. Enclosures for general detention facilities. There is widespread consensus on a national and international level that the situation in prisons, as well as the situation of women incarcerated, must be improved immediately. Prison research and study is challenging. As such, it is non-competitive in that it has no competitors. It protects its monopoly control against outside encroachment. It is well-designed to keep strangers out. The Jail Manuals cover every aspect of jail management. Everyone in society is born equal and has the same basic rights as their creator. These rights are the foundation of every human being and have been recognised by many constitutions across the world, however in every community, there are certain people who do not follow the ethics and norms of society and are deprived of these rights. A society without crime is a utopian concept. The Indian fight was significant in defining prisoners’ rights. “In truth, the prison system’s structure is an uncomfortable compromise between its several roles. The prison system is in an uneasy and illogical equilibrium between control and change, between punishment and rehabilitation. The fact that a person can be imprisoned, fined, or both for committing a crime does not deprive him of his basic rights. The fundamental goal of the criminal justice system is to ensure that a person is not a criminal for the rest of his life. The female prisoners’ Biological requirements require special care compared to men. Sexual abuse has been reported. and custodial rapes, in addition to the usual torture. Overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and a lack of toilet paper and lack of educational facilities for inmates Kiran Bedi in her novel Tihar Jail Women captives were subjected here terrible situations deprived them of what. For women convicts, India’s idea of women’s crime prisoner status and idea focused on causes. Contextual explanations That’s what this paper to draw attention to criminology’s male-centric slant treating female inmates the same as male prisoner’s life This also leads to sweeping laws. women’s jail provisions It promotes a special Why women inmates should be handled differently male inmates .

WOMEN PRISIONERS IN INDIA: ENTITLEMENTS & PROBLEMS

Inmates have the right to human dignity, as well as basic requirements such as drinking water, hygiene, medical treatment, clothes and bedding, and communication with the outside world, according to the Mulla Committee. Gainful employment, access to justice, and so forth. All of this should be included in a prisoner’s rights and duties pamphlet sent out at the time of admittance. The identical list will be shown in jail. explained to the convict in her own language Because there are so many women in Indian prisons, it is critical that they are informed of their rights and options. Better fulfil their obligations in a predominantly male-dominated jail system. This is a good example of some of the issues that women in jail confront.

  • ACCOMMODATION

 “Overcrowding is a major issue in Indian prisons.” The National Jail Manual specifies the dimensions of prison cells and barracks. Barracks should hold no more than 20 inmates, and dormitories four to six. There will also be single occupancy rooms. convicts in need of privacy research, separated cells, etc. Violence-related detainees may be or infectious illnesses cooling and heating in barracks and washrooms Laundry will be provided. Inmates should also have safe storage personal belongings compartments. Women are disproportionately affected by overcrowding, as they are typically confined to a smaller section of the jail owing to a lack of facilities. Due of overcrowding, even mild illnesses can swiftly spread. The lack of toilets and amenities exacerbates the problem. The psychological consequences of being forced to live in such close quarters are significant. In most cases, owing to space restrictions, convicted and unconvict inmates cannot be separated. Furthermore, juvenile criminals (18-21 years of age) are placed with older women. offenders. Prison overcrowding forces convicts’ children to live in circumstances unfavourable. Overcrowding convicts must be sent to another institution or camp, according to the National Prison Manual. Women should be sent to the nearest women’s jail as soon as possible. being sent to other jails with more space for female inmates should be done uniformly.

  • SANITATION & HYGIENE

 “To service a large jail population, there are usually just a few amenities and toilets.” The majority of prisons lack basic sanitation and hygiene facilities. One toilet and one bathing cubicle per 10 offenders is recommended in the Prison Manual, although this is rarely followed. There aren’t many. Toilets and restrooms for an overburdened prison population Women’s restrooms should likewise be separated from male restrooms and have monitored doors. intervention, which is quite uncommon. Issues with toilet location and design In prison restrooms, women are more likely to be sexually harassed or assaulted. The fact that the majority of female inmates (81.8%) are menstruation increases their demand for decent sanitary facilities and period hygiene products. They must have sterilised sanitary napkins, although this is often absent. Women Others fee for them or just give them once every month. regardless of necessity This forces women to use unsanitary materials such as in the form of old mattresses or fabric etc.

  • HEALTH

 “The emotional, physical, sexual, and reproductive health of women needs special attention.” Accessible, acceptable, and high-quality health care are all requirements. The National Prison Manual distinguishes between men’s and women’s wards. It also suggests that inmates get their health examined, including for sexually transmitted illnesses, mental health concerns, and drug usage, among other things. Upon admission, all prisoners must be immunised. Special attention must be given to the requirements of drug-addicted convicts. Because of the lack of knowledge and investment on women’s health in prison, the administration should be informed. Many of them arrive in jail with physical and psychological problems that necessitate intervention. Prisoners’ physical and emotional health sometimes suffer despite state-mandated regulations. Many hospitals lack female wards and female doctors, notably gynaecologists. Women with mental disorders are routinely confined in jails owing to a lack of alternative acceptable institutions. In 2015 -2020 fatalities of women inmates were reported, of which 48 were natural causes and three were suicides.

  • VIOLENCE

 “All personnel working with women convicts will be trained on gender issues and women’s rights.” If a guy is required to visit the female ward, then he must note the cause in his record book, according to the National Prison Manual. Round must be female chief wardens’ 24-hour duty and warders Wrong to imprison women forced to leave their confinement release, transfer, and judicial appearance or court order any other lawful purpose. If a female inmate is transported from one jail to another, she must be accompanied by a female relative. A female staff member must conduct a decency-conscious check of female inmates upon entrance in a private place. Several female detainees have claimed being humiliated or raped during this process. Custodial rape of Indian women prisoners: In State of Maharashtra vs. C.K.Jain 1 police rape was one among them. The Supreme Court stated that cooperation should only be sought if the prosecution’s testimony was untrustworthy. Second, no woman should be required to make a false rape claim. Third, the victim woman’s failure to file a police report is not fatal, and she has good cause for it. There was no space for mercy; the penalty had to be severe. When it comes to incidents of violence against female inmates, prison administrations should be particularly rigorous in their response. It is imperative that immediate action be taken to guarantee that all female inmates have access to legal assistance and counselling.

PRISONERS RIGHTS IN INDIA

The right to life entitles a person to protection in criminal justice administration circumstances, in addition to basic human requirements, which have now been included in the domain of right to life under the Indian Constitution as a result of the Supreme Court’s exceptional humanistic rulings. The aforementioned humanistic approach does not stop with basic human rights like the right to a dignified life and the right to be free of torture. Penology that focuses on the person and aim is noteworthy since sanctioned imprisonment of criminals is a measure of social defence in individual rehabilitation. Is it even possible to save him and bring him back into society? The rights of female inmates awaiting trial and offenders in the right to life administration are the subject of this study.

  • RIGHT TO LIFE AND LIBERTY

In recent years, India’s Supreme Court has been exceedingly cautious when it comes to constitutional violations of inmates’ human rights. According to Article 21[7] of the Indian Constitution, a person’s life and liberty may not be taken away unless the law allows it. Indian human rights protection is based on the right to life and the right to personal liberty. The Indian judiciary has served as an institution by being proactive and activist in securing proper remedy for victims of human rights violations. By creating a wide and precise notion of “life and personal liberty,” the courts have developed and codified a plethora of rights. They’ve outdone themselves in terms of generosity and thoroughness.

  • ACCCUSED TO KNOW OF ACCUSATION

A fair trial must also provide the accused with an adequate opportunity to defend himself, which is one of the characteristics of a fair trial. However, such opportunity will be meaningless unless and until the accused individual is made aware of the charges levelled against him. In order for him to explain the allegations against him to his counsel and choose a lawyer who he believes is most suited for his case, the accused has the right to be informed about the charges against him. It is also the obligation of the officer who issued the charge to explain the substance of the charge to the accused and to notify him of the actions he is required to take.

  • RIGHT TO SPEEDY TRIAL

 The right to a speedy trial is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution, which allows the accused to have their cases resolved quickly. The constitutional provision of fast trials is a vital protection for preventing unjust and oppressive trial imprisonment, as well as reducing the anxiety that comes with public charges and minimising the potential of protracted delays that undermine the accused’s capacity to defend himself With respect to inmates under trial, Hussainara Khatoon( IV) v. Home Secretary , State of Bihar exposed a sad state of things surrounding the administration of justice in Bihar. Thousands of men, women, and children have been imprisoned for years, awaiting trial. These small acts would not have warranted incarceration for more than a few months or a year or two, but they were imprisoned for durations ranging from 3 to 10 years without ever being tried. The Court ordered their immediate release, many of whom had been jailed without trial or even indictment. Due to the lack of a quick trial, Article 21 was violated. The Supreme Court (Bhagwati J) concluded that the State cannot deny the accused the constitutional right to quick trial on the grounds that the State has adequate financial resources to enhance the administrative and judicial machinery. Public trust in the courts depends on speedy processes. Delaying the experiment also weakens the goal of re-socialization. Injustice breeds violence. Section 309(1)[10] directs courts to expedite trials and decisions.

  • RIGHT TO FREE LEGAL AID

 By Article 39A of the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, the Constitution designated Free Legal Aid as one of the Guideline Principles of State Policy. The most basic and obvious provision in the Constitution is free legal aid. Despite the fact that this Article is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy in Part IV of the Constitution, and despite the fact that it cannot be enforced by the courts, the notion represented therein is critical in the country’s administration. The state must follow these principles while drafting legislation, according to Article 37 of the Constitution. Despite the fact that Article 38 requires the state to promote the welfare of the people by preserving the constitutional system of justice, morals, economics, and politics, it also has an influence on other aspects of national life.

  • RIGHT AGAINST INHUMAN TREATMENT OF PRISONERS

The concepts of human dignity and human rights are inextricably linked. The Supreme Court of India has taken a strong stance against inmate abuse in a number of cases, issuing effective directives to jail and police officials to protect the rights of inmates and those in police custody. The Supreme Court examined Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution, which deal with the right to be free of torture. “Treating a human being in a way that offends his or her dignity would undoubtedly be arbitrary, and might be challenged under Article 14.”the court stated in Madhu Kishwar & Ors5 . Etc vs. State of Bihar & Ors The Supreme Court voiced its displeasure with police torture in Raghubir Singh v. State of Bihar6 , upholding a life sentence given on a police officer who was responsible for the death of a suspect as a result of abuse in a police lock-up.

  • PUBLIC HEARING IN OPEN COURT

 Any Criminal Court convened for the purpose of investigating or prosecuting any crime should be regarded as an open court to which the general public has extensive access to the degree that it is practical to do so: However, the presiding Judge or Magistrate may, at any time during any investigation into or trial of any particular matter, order that the public in general, or any specific individual, not have access to, be or remain in, the Court’s chamber or premises.

  • PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

 Everyone is presumed innocent unless and until their guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt in a trial before an impartial and competent court of justice. Earlier this year, in Kali Ram v. State of Himachal Pradesh ,In criminal proceedings, the Supreme Court recognised and emphasised the relevance of the “presumption of innocence” rule. The prosecutor and defence counsel, as well as any other public officials involved in the prosecution, have a duty to maintain the presumption of innocence by refraining from making conclusions about the result of the trial before it begins.

  • PROTECTION WITH RESPECT TO CONVICTION

The highest penalties which might have been enforced underneath the legislation in influence at the period the crime was perpetrated cannot surpass the optimum penalties that might have been enforced underneath the legislation in influence at the moment the crime was perpetrated until an individual is considered convicted of a criminal offence for breaching a legislation, according to Article 20 of the Indian Constitution. (There is no such thing as ex-post facto legislation.) In any given year, no one may be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once. Forcing a person accused of a crime to testify against himself or herself is illegal (no double jeopardy). (Self-incrimination will not be allowed.)

HEALTHCARE AND SAFETY OF PRISONERS

Individuals assume that convicts are sent to jail for sake of punishment rather than for the purpose of punishment. This means that confinement in a restricted setting is used to impose the denial of a person’s right to freedom. Retaining the person in police custody, on the other hand, should never have a negative impact on him. Regrettably, this is the situation in all of the globe’s jails to some extent or another. Would it then be necessary to describe what constitutes a safe jail surroundings? Let alone a convict’s right to health care rendered by the prison officials? Prisoners have inviolable privileges bestowed on them under foreign conventions and agreements, including the right to preventive insurance and, most importantly, the right not to transmit illnesses while incarcerated. Prison law agrees that detainees should not forfeit any of their liberties as a result of their detention. Nonetheless, there is a continuing lack of freedom throughout imprisonment bodies. Public health initiatives are intended to provide the highest suitable living environments for all the individuals in society, allowing everybody to live a healthier lifestyle. In this framework, prisoners are often overlooked. They are in close interaction with a wide range of people who enter and exit jail on a daily basis. Because of the frequent travel in and out of jail, it is much more critical to keep every infectious illness contained inside the prison such that it cannot escape through the population. In India, overpopulation has exacerbated the issue of sanitation. Situations in many prisons are deplorable. Also, minimal comforts are not offered in tehsil level prisons. In India, detainees are not even screened for particular contagious diseases, despite the fact that all prisoners are assigned a medical assessment before starting their term. There have been no comprehensive reports on the occurrence of viral infections among convicted criminals. In India’s jail documents, inmates accused of having infectious illnesses are segregated. A few prisons have developed informal relationships with medical and social service providers to provide prisoners with therapy in order to deter the transmission of diseases. There are many reasons for violence in prisons. Conflicts may be sparked by racial tensions or feuds between groups or clans. Hostility among inmates is intensified by the cramped, often greatly congested living environment. The monotonous jail atmosphere, a lack of mental and physical stimulation, and sheer boredom all contribute to a build-up of anger and stress. Somepeople engage in these practices in order to avoid boredom. Others, on the other hand, are compelled to participate in them in order to achieve influence or money. If left untreated, unsafe lives will lead to disease spread from one inmate to another, posing a significant public health hazard. A convict’s punishment does not include acquiring an illness while imprisoned. When an illness is highly dangerous, such as HIV/AIDS, this reality gets much more important. As long as the inmate is safe, there is no reason for separation from a medical standpoint. HIVpositive prisoners should not be kept in restrictive isolation. Any limitations may be unique, such as involuntary testing for inmates serving as surgical nurses in hospitals or dental clinics, which are in high-risk conditions. There could also be private wellbeing issues, such as when inmates who are HIV-positive seek to be held in a protected unit because they fear for their own health. If several issues plaguing Indian prisons ought to be addressed, both jail reforms and legal reforms are needed. Reducing the total jail population would allow for changes in the structural and operational circumstances of the jails, as well as ensuring the safety of all inmates. Capital services would, of course, have to be allocated to jail facilities as well. Offering nonviolent and constitutional suspects, solutions other than detention is one successful way to reduce inmate rates. The Supreme Court of India upheld in Parmanand Katara vs Union of India (1989) and others that the system has a duty to protect life regardless of whether the individual is an innocent civilian or a convict subject to legal prosecution. The right to reasonable standards for everyone’s welfare and health is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with particular regard to health. In addition, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESR) states that inmates have the entitlement to the best physical and mental treatment possible.

CONCLUSION

In India, the number of women imprisoned is increasing. Women incarcerated, many of whom are awaiting trial, lead complex lives. Prisons do not have the ability to reform its convicts. Comprehension is therefore crucial. recognising the needs and rights of female detainees upheld. Women incarcerated face progressive measures that may or may not be effective .Inadequate female workers, limited space, and overcrowding housing, sanitary services, and other essential services Mental health, nutrition, and education deficiencies affect a large number of working mothers insufficient education, health, and enjoyment lack of engagement with the outside world, inmate and prisoner violence They face hardship once they enter society. Female detainees and prison personnel should be required to They must also cater to minorities. minorities, to evade any form of partiality. Vivacious draw attention to violations of inmates’ rights the superior Women’s safety while incarcerated and post-release assistance India’s women’s prison systems. Overall, Additional research will aid programmers. This can aid in the rehabilitation of female offender Authorities should exercise caution. An examination of the correctional system’s flaws Mr./Ms. I concur that it is critical to overhaul the disproportionately male prison system. Women in Prison This study may be of assistance to policymakers and managers text rewrite

SUGGESTIONS

Prisoners must be permitted to see their parents and relatives so that they can be rehabilitated and can face the outside world without the stigma of precognition. Prisoners in India are allowed periodic furloughs under the Prisons Act and its guidelines to attain this goals.

For the sake of women and their children, special processes should be set in place at the time of their arrest. Because searches upon entrance and through one’s term in jail are all experiences in which women are susceptible to humiliation, use of violence, these must be tightly controlled by established procedures.

To ensure that incarcerated women have access to the resources necessary for pregnancy and delivery, prisons must have medical, nutritional, and living accommodations that meet these needs. Not only do the children of convicts live with them, but their own children are often born and raised in jail themselves.

Defendants should only be handled by female cops or guards. The concept of creating separate women’s prisons does not appear feasible given the costs involved.

 We need to categorise convicts scientifically based on the nature of the crime and the offender’s attributes such as educational level and expected reaction to prison treatment. Prison legislation should provide compensation for prisoners unfairly held or injured by cruel or irresponsible prison employees. Prison authorities are required to take efforts to ensure that prisoners’ basic rights are not infringed, and that they are not exposed to harassment and inhumane living circumstances.

Author: MOHINI SEHGAL, NMIMS SCHOOL OF LAW,MUMBAI

Editor: Kanishka VaishSenior Editor, LexLife India.Advertisements

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