Magistrates must be appointed in jails to curb excesses by police

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad—The Federal Ombudsman Secretariat organized a meeting of the National Committee on Jails Reform at Islamabad to discuss the progress of the implementation of recommendation made in the report which has already been presented to the Chief Justice of Pakistan by the Federal Ombudsman M. Salman Faruqui. The committee visited the jails in far flung areas to examine the issues being faced by the women and children in jails. The committee suggested short, medium and long term reforms in its report.
The committee also suggested that the laws relating to criminal justice system and prisons need to be revisited for better coordination among allied agencies. The committee also observed the shortage of staff in jails, over crowdedness, lack of sanitation and health facilities, violence on prisoners particularly women and children, lack of proper food, external oversight mechanism, non-production of under trial prisoner to courts, The HEC, AIOU and COMSAT are jointly arranging the education to children and women in jails.
The meeting of the committee was chaired by Ms Asma Jehangir, former Chairperson of Human Rights Commission to review the progress of the Committee’s Report and suggest measures for further improving the living conditions of women and children in jails. Ms. Asma Jehangir proposed that positions of Magistrate and Law Officer be created in the jails to monitor the situation to prevent any action contrary to law in relation to prisoners especially the police excesses. She said that children and juveniles involved in petty crimes need not be sent jails.
The committee was informed that at present 3700 approximately women and children are in jails. The members of the committee appreciated the efforts of the Federal Ombudsman Salman Faruqui made for providing better living facilities to women & children in jails.
They also lauded the Federal Ombudsman’s initiatives for prompt justice at the door steps of the people. The Rector COMSATS informed the Committee that besides arranging for the education of children inmates, COMSATS is also planning to provide education to jail staff for improving their behaviour with the inmates and the over all jail environment. He also offered the services of Psychologists who would interact individually with prisoners for their psychological rehabilitation.

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