Ministry of Home Affairs
Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and decisiveguidance of Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah, a decision was taken to review and revise colonial-era outdated Prison Act in tune with contemporary modern day needs and correctional ideology
With the objective of holistically providing guidance and addressing the gaps in the existing Prisons Act, MHA under the able guidance of Home Minister Shri Amit Shah, ﬁnalises a comprehensive ‘Model Prisons Act, 2023’, which may serve as a guiding document for the States
Along with ‘The Prisons Act, 1894’, ‘The Prisoners Act, 1900’ and ‘The Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950’ have also been reviewed by the MHA and relevant provisions of these Acts have been assimilated in the ‘Model Prisons Act, 2023’
‘Model Prisons Act, 2023’ aims at reforming prison management and ensuring the transformation of inmates into law-abiding citizens and their rehabilitation in society
The new Prisons Act will lay more emphasis on the safety of women & transgender prisoners and bring about transparency in prison management and provide for the correction and rehabilitation of prisoners
New act to have focus on vocational training and skill development of prisoners and their reintegration into the society
12 MAY 2023 4:32PM by PIB Delhi
The present ‘Prisons Act, 1894’ is a pre-independence era Act and is almost 130 years old. The Act mainly focuses on keeping the criminals in custody and enforcement of discipline and order in prisons. There is no provision for reform and rehabilitation of prisoners in the existing Act.
In the last few decades, an altogether new perspective has evolved about prisons and prison inmates, globally. Prisons today are not looked as places of retributive deterrence but are considered as reformative and correctional institutions where the prisoners are transformed and rehabilitated back into society as law abiding citizens.
As per the provisions of Constitution of India, ‘prisons’/ ‘persons detained therein’ is a 'State' subject. The responsibility of prison management and prisoners administration solely vests with State Governments who alone are competent to make appropriate legislative provisions in this regard. However, given the critical role that eﬃcient prison management plays in the criminal justice system, the Government of India attaches high degree of importance to supporting the States/UTs in this regard.
Over the past few years, the Ministry of Home Aﬀairs (MHA) noted that there are several lacunae in the existing Prisons Act, which regulates the prison administration in all States and Union territories, with the exception of few States who have enacted a new Prisons Act. Besides the conspicuous omission of the correctional focus in the existing Act, a need was felt to revise and upgrade the Act in tune with modern day needs and requirements of prison management.
Under the visionary leadershipof the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and decisive guidanceof the Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah, a decision was taken to review and revise colonial-eraoutdated Prison Act, in tune with contemporary modern day needs and correctional ideology. The Ministry of Home Aﬀairs assigned the task of revision of the Prisons Act, 1894 to the Bureau of Police Research and Development. The Bureau, after holding wide ranging discussions with State Prison authorities, correctional experts etc. prepared a draft.
With the objective of holistically providing guidance and addressing the gaps in the existing Prisons Act, including the use of technology in prison management, making provisions for grant of parole, furlough, remission to prisoners to encourage good conduct, special provision for women/ transgender inmates, physical and mental well-being of prisoners and focus on the reformation and rehabilitation of inmates, etc. the Ministry of Home Aﬀairs, under the able guidance of Home Minister Shri Amit Shah, has ﬁnalised a comprehensive ‘Model Prisons Act, 2023’, which may serve as a guiding document for the States, and for adoption in their jurisdiction.
Along with ‘The Prisons Act, 1894’, ‘The Prisoners Act, 1900’ and ‘The Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950’ have also been reviewed by the Ministry of Home Aﬀairs and relevant provisions of these Acts have been assimilated in the ‘Model Prisons Act, 2023.’ State Governments and Union Territory Administrations can beneﬁt from the Model Prisons Act, 2023 by adopting it in their jurisdictions, with such modiﬁcations which they may consider necessary, and repeal the existing three Acts in their jurisdictions.
Some salient features of the new Model Prisons Act are as follows:
- Provision for security assessmentand segregation of prisoners, individual sentence planning,
- Grievance redressal, prison development board, attitudinal change towards prisoners.
- Provision of separate accommodation for women prisoners, transgender, etc.
- Provision for use of technology in prison administration with a view to bring transparency in prison administration.
- Provision for video conferencing with courts, scientiﬁc and technological interventions in prisons, etc.
- Provision of punishment for prisoners and jail staﬀ for use of prohibited items like mobile phones etc. in jails.
- Provision regarding establishment and management of high security jail, open jail (open and semi open), etc.
- Provision for protecting the society from the criminal activities of hardened criminals and habitual offenders, etc.
- Provision for legal aid to prisoners, provision of parole, furlough and premature release etc. to incentivise good conduct.
- Focus on vocational training and skill development of prisoners and their reintegration into the society.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Government is committed to bring reforms in every sector and this decision of the Modi government will result in bringing more transparency and improvement in prison management and prisoners administration across the country.
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