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An Analysis Of the Rights Of Prisoners
In Kolkata correctional homes With
Special Reference To Conditions,
Treatment, Access To Service And
Shaheer Ahmed Mubarki
They say prisons are the mirrors of a
• the early prisons were only places of detention where an offender was
detained until trial and judgment and the execution of the latter. The structure of
the society in ancient India was founded on the principles enunciated by Manu.
•During the Mughal period sources of law and its character essentially remained
Quranic. Imprisonment was not resorted as a form of punishment in the case of
ordinary criminals. It was used mostly as a means of detention only.
•The prison system as it operates today in our country is a legacy of the British rule.
It was an ingenious creation of the colonial rulers Over our indigenous penal
system with the prime motive of making imprisonment “a terror to wrong
doers”25. Nevertheless it was a great leap in the history of our penal reforms as it
facilitated the abolition of our old fashion system of barbarous punishments and
substitution of imprisonment as the chief form of punishment for crimes.
• defines humanitarian protections for prisoners of
war. These laws provide protection to war
prisoners from physical, mental, emotional tortures,
Third Geneva Convention
• The article imposes a requirement of separation of
prisoners in pre-trial detention from those already
convicted of crimes, as well as a specific
obligation to separate accused juvenile prisoners
from adults and bring them before trial speedily.
The International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights
•The document sets out standards for those in custody which covers
registration, personal hygiene, clothing and bedding, food, exercise
and sport, medical services, discipline and punishment, instruments
of restraint, information to and complaints by prisoners, contact with
the outside world, books, religion, retentions of prisoners’ property,
notification of death, illness, transfer, removal of prisoners,
institutional personnel and inspection of facilities.
The UN Standard Minimum
Rules for the Treatment of
•. The Convention establishes the European Committee for
the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment (the Committee). The
Committee is permitted to visit all places of detention,
defined by the convention as "any place within its
jurisdiction where persons are deprived of their liberty by a
The European Convention
for the Prevention of Torture
and Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment
Rights of the Prisoners in India
1. The police personnel carrying out the arrest and handling the interrogation of the arrestee should bear accurate, visible and clear
identification and name tags with their designations. The particulars of all such police personnel who handle interrogation of the arrestee must
be recorded in a register.
2. That the police officer carrying out the arrest of the arrestee shall prepare a memo of arrest at the time of arrest and such memo shall be
attested by at least one witness, who may be either a member of the family of the arrestee or a respectable person of the locality from where
the arrest is made, it shall also he countersigned by the arrestee and shall contain the time and dale of arrest.
3. A person who has been arrested or detained and is being held in custody in a police station or interrogation centre or other lock-up, shall
be entitled to have one friend or relative or other person known to him or having interest in his welfare being informed, as soon as practicable,
that he has been arrested and is being detained at the particular place, unless the attesting witness of the memo of arrest is himself such a
friend or a relative of the arrestee.
4. The time, place of arrest and venue of custody of an arrestee must be notified by the police where the next friend or relative of the arrestee
lives outside the district or town through the Legal Aid Organisation in the District and the police station of the area concerned telegraphically
within a period of 8 to 12 hours after the arrest.
5. The person arrested must be made aware of this right to have someone informed of his arrest or detention as soon as he is put under arrest
or is detained.
6. An entry must be made in the diary at the place of detention regarding the arrest of the person which shall also disclose the name of the
next friend of the person who has been informed; of the arrest and the names and particulars of the police officials in whose custody the
7. The arrestee should, where he so requests, be also examined at the time of his arrest and major and minor-injuries, if any, present on his/her
body, must be recorded at that time. The "Inspection Memo" must be signed both by the arrestee and the police officer effecting the arrest
and its copy provided to the arrestee.
8. The arrestee should be subjected to medical examination by a trained doctor every 48 hours during his detention in custody by a doctor on
the panel of approved doctors appointed by Director, Health Services of the concerned State or Union Territory, Director, Health Services
should prepare such a panel for all Tehsils and Districts as well.
9. Copies of all the documents including the memo of arrest, referred to above, should be sent to the Magistrate for his record.
10. The arrestee may be permitted to meet his lawyer during interrogation, though not throughout the interrogation.
11. A police control room should be provided at all district and State headquarters, where information regarding the arrest and the place of
custody of the arrestee shall be communicated by the officer causing the arrest, within 12 hours of effecting the arrest and al the police
control room it should be displayed on a conspicuous police, board.
1. Accommodation for prisoners.
2. Control and duties of officers of prisons
3. Officers not to have business dealings with prisoners.
4. Officers not-to be interested in prison-contracts.
5. Duties of officers (general, superintendent, jailor, medical officer, prisoner officers, etc.).
6. Subordinate officers not to be absent without leave.
7. Convict officers.
8. Admission, removal and discharge of prisoners
9. Discipline of prisoners
10. Food, clothing and bedding of civil and unconvicted criminal prisoners
11. Employment of prisoners
12. Health of prisoners
13. Visits to prisoners
14. Offences in relation to prisons
THE WEST BENGAL CORRECTIONAL SERVICE
A central correctional home shall affiliate to itself a district correctional
home or special correctional home or subsidiary correctional home or
correctional home for women in such manner as may be prescribed.
The State Government shall by notification determine the number of any
category of correctional home and the place at which correctional home
An open correctional home shall not be surrounded by any boundary wall
and shall be used for confinement of such long-term prisoners and on
such conditions as may be prescribed, for giving such prisoners more
liberty and more opportunity of association with the social life outside a
correctional home and facilitating their after-release rehabilitation.
Jails in India and West Bengal
District Jails 333 124,768
Sub Jails 809 50,908
Open Jails 44 3,766
Other Jails 3 323
Total 1382 332,782
Central Correctional Homes 6
Open Air Correctional Home 2
District Correctional Homes 12
Special Correctional Homes 3
Women's Correctional Homes 2
Sub-Correctional Homes 33
Problems in Prisons of West Bengal
Corruption and extortion
Unsatisfactory living conditions
Staff shortage and poor training
Inequalities and distinctions
Inadequate prison programmes
Poor spending on health care and welfare
Lack of legal aid
Abuse of prisoners
Health Problems in prisons
Women’s Health Care in Prisons is not satisfactory
Some of the thesis findings are provided below which were in the scope of this
1. Lack of legal aid
2. Lack of required provisions which lead to lack of knowledge to the inmates’
families about the latter.
3. Most of the Bangladeshi inmates complained of discrimination.
4. Lack of commodities such as soap, detergents, etc.
5. Most of the inmates complained about the food they were being provided to
6. But there was 1 bathroom for 50-70 inmates.
7. Majority of the inmates are under-trials and since the government is not ready to
bear their expenses their live is worst in the prison. There was an inmate who had
spent 3 months in the prison in just the pair of clothes that he had worn at the
time of arrest.
A very important source for these findings was
Prof. Biswanath Chakravorty,
Rabindra Bharati University,
B. T. Road.
I deeply acknowledge the valuable guidance provided by Dr.
C.J.Dias. I would also like to thank Ms. Arpita Ghosh, Mr. M.
Mondal, Mr. A.K.Ghosh, Mr. Das, and all teachers who took
classes in our M.A.Part 1 course without whose able guidance
my knowledge on Human Rights would have remained
incomplete. I am also grateful to Mr.Shantanu Adhikari and
Mr.Ranjit Karmakar of Bullygunge Science College, Calcutta
University for their whole hearted support in carrying out the
project work.I would like to thank my class mates for creating
a conducive atmosphere for me to work.I would like to extend
my thanks to my friend Supriyo Singh, Suchita Sharma, Shaheer
Ahmed Munarki and all others without whose support and
active criticism this project work would have remained
incomplete. Last but not the least I would like to extend my
heartfelt gratitude to my parents Mr.Sami Mubarki and Mrs.
Gulshan Mubarki, my sisters Mrs. Afreen Ahmed, Ms.Tehseen
Mubarki and Ms Farheen Mubarki for their never ending
support and encouragement in carrying out the project work.
Mr. Sujato Bhadra,
Civil Rights Activist from
West Bengal, and
Professor, Human Rights
University of Calcutta