Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said not all the convicts who are sentenced to stay in jails are criminals by nature and that there should a way to bring them back into the society.
He said that the Centre is mulling over bringing a Model Prisons Act in the next six months by amending the British-era law.
Detailed discussions in that regard are in process with state governments, added Shah.
While addressing a gathering at the inauguration of the 6th All India Prison Duty Meet in Ahmedabad, the Union home minister urged the state governments to adopt the Model Prison Manual introduced by the Centre in 2016 with “a need to reassess our views regarding prisons.”
Only 11 states and Union Territories have till now adopted the Manual, he added.
The Home Minister said, “After the prison manual, we are now going to bring the Model Prisons Act, which will bring about necessary changes in the law in force since the British era. Right now, we are holding extensive discussions with states and I am sure that it will be brought within the next six months.”
The Prison Manual emphasizes on bringing basic uniformity in human rights, reformed rehabilitation of prisoner and contains several other remedial points.
Moreover, the manual also has special provisions for women prisoners. It includes aftercare facilities, good scientific procedures for prison inspections, rights of death row prisoners and many good provisions for staff involved in prison reforms.
The Prisons Act will be bought to make jails in India state-of-the-art.
Shah stressed on thinking about the issue of overcrowding in prisons and that jail administration cannot be improved until this issue is resolved.
Meanwhile, he said there is need to make arrangements to “to keep prisoners who spread the propaganda of radicalisation and narcotics separate.”
“I believe that prison administration is a very important wing of internal security. We cannot ignore jail administration. The society’s perception of jails needs to be changed. Not all convicts lodged in jail are criminals by nature,” he added.
Although the process of punishment is important, he said, it is also the responsibility of the jail administration that if the convict is not a criminal by nature, then they should act as a medium to rehabilitate such prisoners back into society.