“Crime is the outcome of a diseased mind and jail must have an environment of hospital for treatment and care”. –
It has been fairly recognized that the right to life under Article 21 subsumes the right to health, and also puts a constitutional obligation to provide health facilities to all. Irrespective of these rights, the model prison manual also talks about the safeguards related to prisoners’ health. These include a healthy meal, medical care, clean drinking water, and proper ventilation. Synthesizing to identify various possible factors and the negative impacts of the prison environment that worsen the health condition of the detainees. The fact is that prison authorities are consistently underspending on building health infrastructure, yet the issue is storing up to massive health problems. Data shows that there is only one medical worker per 243 prisoners, with a vacancy of 30%. This unbalanced ratio is quite shocking when we start analyzing reforms. While comparing it with the U.S.A. and their reforms, think about the two frameworks and assess the Indian Prison organization on these lines. It is generally a decent strategy to learn something from other similarly skilled gatherings, and similar remains constant when one is examining the worry for detainees in the criminal justice framework.
The term prison has evolved over the centuries. At the beginning of the renaissance, imprisonment was just a way to guarantee that the lawbreaker pays the fine and leaves the prison. Today, prisons are exclusively about rehabilitation and punishments, but punishment in particular. Prison conditions play a substantial role in deciding the future of the offender, and it is expected from the prisoners to become better people, less likely to commit another crime. Well, this is easier said than done.
What quality of food are they getting? Kind of activities are they involved in? Their sleeping hours? And the major one is, what if someone is suffering from diabetes and by diabetes, the author means, what about their health? Prison conditions vary from country to country, regions like Sweden and Canada are quite developed and provide the most successful rehabilitation program, but this is not the case in India, where an incomplete picture of the Prison Act’1894 is seen through inhumane conditions inside the prison houses and offenders struggling for their lives and health behind the bars. Lack of medical facilities and health infrastructure in prisons indirectly affects the rehabilitation program. The typical belief of seeing the prisoners as belonging to a disadvantaged group creates disparity and neglects them from the outside community, similar to how their health is being neglected in the prisons. The health policies articulated often corners prisoners’ health, forgetting that inmates are sent to prison as a punishment and not for punishment.
Would a prisoner’s death due to negligence of prison authority make up to the news headline?
The supreme court quoted that imprisonment does not “spell farewell to the fundamental rights.” The right to health of the prisoners is enshrined under article 21, right to life. Irrespective of these rights, the model prison manual talks about the safeguards related to prisoners’ health which include healthy meals, medical care, safe drinking water, and a properly ventilated environment. The prison authorities are consistently underspending on infrastructure related to health. Indian jails overcrowded, understaffed reveals NCRB report, as of 31 December 2019There were 1,350 operational jails in India, having 4,78,600 prisoners with the actual capacity to house 403,739 prisoners (NCRB, Executive summary, 2019). In 2014, the NHRC delivered a report on suicide by detainees, where it was expressed that an individual was 1.5 times more bound to end it all while in jail. Out of the 4 lakh detainees, 6000 over go odd emotional well-being issues which were disregarded. Protection of rights of detainees who have psychological issues is a duty of the public authority under Section 103 of Mental Healthcare Act, 2017. At the same time, section 8 of the Prisoners Act additionally discusses the psychological well-being of the detainees.
|Shocking fact: 68% of the detainees are under trial, which implies they have just been accused of wrongdoing and not held liable.|
Prisoners are considered a disadvantaged group of the society kept in the vulnerable situation of not having access to elementary services which raises health risks. India stands:
Basic medical amenities:
Prisons in India lack providing even the primary medical services to detainees, as the framework is persistently deficient. In jails, significant failure to control infectious disease, absence of physical and mental exercises, delayed diagnosis and timely treatment, raises the probability of health issues.
|Shocking fact: Of the 1,544 natural deaths provided by the States, 1,466 died from disease and 78 from old age.|
Many issues related to the quality, quantity of food and inadequacy of nutrition, are observed. Measures are taken to provide adequate food, but the quality and insufficiency of nutrients are not yet met.
14 per cent over the capacity is held in Indian prisons. There has been a straight upward increase in the number of prisoners detained over the past few years, a significant number of them including pre-trial detainees. Overcrowding has shot up the issue of cleanliness, the spread of disease, and poor ventilation. Indian prisons are packed which builds up to the high chances and plethoric occurrence of health issues.
A huge gap lies between the current strength of prison staff to the authorized strength, only 1 staff is accessible for 7 detainees. Data shows that there is only one medical worker per 243 prisoners and there is a health workers vacancy of 30%
A total of 24 jails in India are separated just for the women prisoners but only ⅙ of women detainees are kept in them, the rest are still managed within men’s prison. The absence of a permanent female medical officer pushes them to consult a male doctor, which becomes uncomfortable to talk about menstrual and reproductive health with. Either the menstrual products remain unavailable, or a predetermined number is supplied regardless of one’s need. Women have to use sanitary napkins for stretched hours due to restricted availability, which increases the risks associated with their reproductive health. The extremely low number of washrooms thrive to become a problem in managing the menstrual week, the washrooms are accommodated with no safety or segregated enclosures, which raises the probability of male interruption leaving females defenceless against sexual humiliation. No safe disposal of the used napkins is ensured within the prison houses, which poses a threat to infection.
|Fact: Around 7,394 prisoners were going through the adversity of mental illness as of 31st December 2019.|
Greater care and treatment is a necessity in prisons.
Detainees are most likely to be in an awful condition of wellbeing when they enter jail, and the unhealthy and improper conditions there, add up to worsen their health. The requirement for medical services and therapies become frequently more prominent in jail than in the outside area, but accessibility still remains close to the ground. The risk of exposure to contagious diseases is high due to the frequent, mass movements inside the prison houses that demand high preventive measures to control spreading to the society. Prisoner rights are one of the basic elements of correctional facilities. According to the basic principle, “I hate crime, not criminals. ” Each one has a minimal right to it. A person has been confiscated or rejected for committing a criminal offence or violating the law. In the case of Sunil Batra vs. Delhi Administration, Judge Krishna Iyer answered the question he asked himself. In other words, if you assert and observe, “Is the prisoner a person?” The negative answer is criticized. Rejection of the Constitution of Dehumanization of the State and Humanity and the Rule of Law of the World. In this case, the court ruled that convicting a person for a crime cannot reduce that person to the non-human. Imposition of Vulnerable and harsh judgments by the prison authorities without following procedures and safety precautions leads to the bestialization of the detainees. Apart from that, the Supreme Court of India upholds Prisoner rights and their promotion from mere animal to the human condition.
Comparative study of India and the U.S.A
Prisoner Reforms under the influence of Montesquieu and Beccaria, Prison idea as a comprehensive road to America and Europe. The US punishment policy after the American Revolutionary War was addressed in the question “How can prison be organized to reduce punishment?” Can a criminal repeat a crime?
The origin of the prison dates back to the first quarter of the 19th century. Initially, this term was used as a remand prison for underground trials. And with the advancement of time, knowledge and civilization, the number of situations. India’s modern prison system is substantially based on the British prison model and is also the result of prison development in the United States in the late 18th century. For this reason, assuming imprisonment is a necessary evil, now the question is how well the prison system can be? To help them return to normal life, it could be a place of correction for cheats. Prisons have improved significantly, they’re no longer just detention centres or homes for future life, modern punishment techniques place more emphasis on reforming and rehabilitating. The US Supreme Court is making intensive efforts to standardize the rights of prisoners and the administrative views of civil servants. But in India, we find that even the fundamental constitutional rights remain unrecognized, and it’s too far to say about the existing prisoner laws that keep on repeating in every other new prisoner law legislated. Indian prison administration differs from US prison administration in the terms of modernization of the prison facilities, where US prisons have separate levels of security for the needs of each prisoner and the supermax management includes almost everything from cameras to sensors. Such a structure of prison does not exist in India, where we still find either the Kaal Kothari or Khuli Kothari.
An extensive overhaul from the very foundation has become the prime necessity to be made in the country’s prison system. The absence of basic health care, the medical treatment affects the human rights of the prisoners, so their privileges are secured under jail statutes with the goal of them not exhausting their basic rights out of captivity and not depriving them of living in healthy conditions. The criminal organization framework does inevitably incorporate jail organization. Appropriate food, safe houses and medical care therapy should be given by the jail specialists in order to truly transform the detainees after their time of imprisonment. But in both countries, the public knows very little about life inside prison. Most politicians and criminal justice experts are also under-informed while the state legislators approve the laws that barely impact conditions of detention, they rarely visit prison facilities. The names of the judges do not appear on the visiting list of the offenders, whom they were sentenced to imprisonment. The police routinely don’t mind putting inmates through their doors. Thus, both countries have a fundamental political problem that has nothing to do with the existence of federal prisons or the advent of federal prisons.
This Article is written by;
Author – Raj Pipara, 2nd-year law student pursuing B.com LLB(Hons) from University of petroleum and energy studies, Dehradun.
Co-author– Lizansha Birla, 2nd-year law student pursuing B.com LLB(Hons) from University of petroleum and energy studies, Dehradun.
About the publisher:
- NCRB, Executive summary, 2019
2. Health and Safety of Prisoners in India
3. Health and beyond…strategies for a better India: using the “prison window” to reach disadvantaged groups in primary care
4. Prison Statistics India
5. Health in prisons
6. Health and human rights in prisons
7. State of hygiene in Indian prisons
 Charles Sobhraj v. The Superintendent, Central Jail, Tihar, New Delhi,1978 AIR 1514, 1979 SCR (1) 512
 Sec 103:
(1) An order under section 30 of the Prisoners Act, 1900 (3 of 1900) or under section 144 of the Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950), or under section 145 of the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), or under section 143 or section 144 of the Navy Act, 1957 (62 of 1957), or under section 330 or section 335 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), directing the admission of a prisoner with mental illness into any suitable mental health establishment, shall be sufficient authority for the admission of such person in such establishment to which such person may be lawfully transferred for care and treatment therein:
Provided that transfer of a prisoner with mental illness to the psychiatric ward in the medical wing of the prison shall be sufficient to meet the requirements under this section:
Provided further that where there is no provision for a psychiatric ward in the medical wing, the prisoner may be transferred to a mental health establishment with the prior permission of the Board.
(2) The method, modalities and procedure by which the transfer of a prisoner under this section is to be effected shall be such as may be prescribed.
(3) The medical officer of a prison or jail shall send a quarterly report to the concerned Board certifying therein that there are no prisoners with mental illness in the prison or jail.
(4) The Board may visit the prison or jail and ask the medical officer as to why the prisoner with mental illness, if any, has been kept in the prison or jail and not transferred for treatment to a mental health establishment.
(5) The medical officer-in-charge of a mental health establishment wherein any person referred to in sub-section (1) is detained, shall once in every six months, make a special report regarding the mental and physical condition of such person to the authority under whose order such person is detained.
(6) The appropriate Government shall set up a mental health establishment in the medical wing of at least one prison in each State and Union territory and prisoners with mental illness may ordinarily be referred to and cared for in the said mental health establishment.
(7) The mental health establishment set up under sub-section (5) shall be registered under this Act with the Central or State Mental Health Authority, as the case may be, and shall conform to such standards and procedures as may be prescribed.