“Number of prisoners lodged in jails of Punjab have are overcrowded by 95% of their sanctioned capacity and no welfare policy has been formulated by Punjab Government for improving the conditions of inmates who are constrained to live in inhuman conditions in jails” these views were expressed by AAP General Secretary Adv. Dinesh Chadha,Spokesperson Adv. Jastej Singh and treasurer Sukhwinder Sukhi in a press conference on the basis of information received under RTI Act.As per the information received from the office of Addl. Director General of Police (Jails) Punjab under RTI Act, AAP leaders revealed that 1215 male prisoners are lodged in Central Jail, Ferozpuragainst the capacity of 1100as such 114 (10%) exceeds the sanctioned capacity. Similarly, total capacity of Central Jail Patiala is 1688 for male inmates which currently has 1790 prisoners which means the jail is overcrowded by 102 (6%) inmates. Revealing the figures further, they said that on the same pattern, Central Jail Amritsar has the capacity of 1982 inmates while it houses 3127 prisoners which are 1145 (57%) more than the sanctioned capacity. Central Jail Hoshiarpur is having 819 inmates against the sanctioned capacity of 478 as such there are 341 (71%) more inmates. District Jail Sangrurhas the capacity of 584 male prisoners whereas actually it has 843 male prisoners which is 48% more than the limit.
District Jail, Roopnagar is the most overcrowded jail as it houses 660 male inmates against the sanctioned capacity of 338 which is 95% more than the sanctioned limit. Mansa Jail has a sanctioned capacity of 401 male prisoners but it has 691 prisoners which is 72% more than the limit. Sub Jail Patti has 262 male prisoner against the capacity of 204 while Sub Jail Fazilka has 64 male prisoners against the sanctioned capacity of 48.Chadha stated that number of female inmates also exceeds 84% than the sanctioned capacity. While revealing the information they said that Central Jail Jalandhar (Kapurthala) has a capacity of 120 female prisoners whereas 161 female prisoners are lodged therein, the percentage of which comes to 34% more. Central Jail Hoshiarpur has a capacity of 45 female inmates against which it houses 51 female prisoners, 13% more than the limit. 98 female inmates are lodged in Central Jail Sangrur against the sanctioned capacity of 32 inmates which is 45% more than the sanctioned capacity. Similarly Central Jail Roopnagar has the capacity of 25 female inmates but it has 46 inmates which is 84% more than its limit.
Chadha said that due to over-crowded prisons the inmates are constrained to live in inhuman conditions because it is not possible to maintain proper hygiene, good food and health facilities in over-populated jails.They said that as per the information received under RTI Act government does not have any concrete policy for rehabilitating the prisoners. Information received from Central Jail, Ludhiana reveals that there is no programme for reorientation of the criminals.Likewise other jails have also reported that there is no programme for the prisoners. However, Central Jail Patiala reported that it runs a yoga training programme where only one inmate gives yoga training to 525 inmates whereas this jail has total 1801 prisoners. No other jail has reported any counselling or religious education programme for the prisoners. Chadha said that from the above information it is amply clear that neither Punjab government is serious about transforming the lives of prisoners nor it has any policy for reforming the prisoners to lead a normal life after the completion of punishment.They appealed the Government to ponder seriously over the issue of rehabilitation of prisoners as crime cannot be controlled by keeping the criminals in inhuman and harsh conditions.