Allahabad High Court Directs State to Explore 'Open Jails' Concept for Convict Welfare

Author : Nimisha Nayak

Updated On : March 7, 2024

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In a landmark decision to transform the prison system, the Allahabad High Court has instructed the Uttar Pradesh government to assess the possibility of incorporating 'open jails' within the state. This directive was issued in response to a plea advocating for the evaluation of alternative methods of incarceration, particularly for individuals who continue to serve sentences despite having been acquitted of their charges.

The Bench, led by Justices Attau Rahman Masoodi and Brij Raj Singh, has pointed to the success stories of open jails in states like Rajasthan and Maharashtra, suggesting that Uttar Pradesh could benefit from adopting a similar approach. Open jails, known for promoting personal freedom among convicts, represent a more humane alternative to traditional incarceration, focusing on the rehabilitation and welfare of prisoners.

Highlighting the need for a more effective reformative system, the Court has asked the state government to thoroughly investigate various models and approaches employed in different regions. This initiative aims to generate proposals that could significantly enhance the lives of convicts and their families.

The move originated from a letter petition by an individual acquitted in 2001 but still imprisoned in Model Jail, Lucknow. This plea was transformed into a suo moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by the Bench, centring on the well-being of convicts and the families reliant on them.

Previously, on February 7, the Court raised concerns over the financial and emotional struggles faced by the families of convicts, especially those who were the primary earners. The absence of these individuals has left their families, including children, without access to essential services like education and healthcare.

Additionally, the Court sought detailed information on the demographic makeup of inmates, including male and female undertrials and convicts, and any children residing in Model Jail, Lucknow. This data is crucial for understanding the broader impacts of incarceration on families and the personal freedom of the prisoners.

Following up on February 28, the justices underscored the significance of considering the effects of imprisonment on both the convicts and their families, labelling it a matter of public interest. The state has been given a month to conduct the necessary evaluations and reports.

Advocate SM Royekwar has been appointed amicus curiae to offer expert insights, while Advocate Anurag Verma represents the State in these proceedings. The Court's initiative to explore alternative incarceration methods underlines a deep-seated commitment to improving the criminal justice system's approach to convict rehabilitation and welfare in Uttar Pradesh. The next hearing, scheduled for March 29, is eagerly awaited, as it promises to address these pivotal reforms further.

Allahabad High Court Directs State to Explore 'Open Jails' Concept for Convict Welfare

Author : Nimisha Nayak

March 7, 2024

SHARE

In a landmark decision to transform the prison system, the Allahabad High Court has instructed the Uttar Pradesh government to assess the possibility of incorporating 'open jails' within the state. This directive was issued in response to a plea advocating for the evaluation of alternative methods of incarceration, particularly for individuals who continue to serve sentences despite having been acquitted of their charges.

The Bench, led by Justices Attau Rahman Masoodi and Brij Raj Singh, has pointed to the success stories of open jails in states like Rajasthan and Maharashtra, suggesting that Uttar Pradesh could benefit from adopting a similar approach. Open jails, known for promoting personal freedom among convicts, represent a more humane alternative to traditional incarceration, focusing on the rehabilitation and welfare of prisoners.

Highlighting the need for a more effective reformative system, the Court has asked the state government to thoroughly investigate various models and approaches employed in different regions. This initiative aims to generate proposals that could significantly enhance the lives of convicts and their families.

The move originated from a letter petition by an individual acquitted in 2001 but still imprisoned in Model Jail, Lucknow. This plea was transformed into a suo moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by the Bench, centring on the well-being of convicts and the families reliant on them.

Previously, on February 7, the Court raised concerns over the financial and emotional struggles faced by the families of convicts, especially those who were the primary earners. The absence of these individuals has left their families, including children, without access to essential services like education and healthcare.

Additionally, the Court sought detailed information on the demographic makeup of inmates, including male and female undertrials and convicts, and any children residing in Model Jail, Lucknow. This data is crucial for understanding the broader impacts of incarceration on families and the personal freedom of the prisoners.

Following up on February 28, the justices underscored the significance of considering the effects of imprisonment on both the convicts and their families, labelling it a matter of public interest. The state has been given a month to conduct the necessary evaluations and reports.

Advocate SM Royekwar has been appointed amicus curiae to offer expert insights, while Advocate Anurag Verma represents the State in these proceedings. The Court's initiative to explore alternative incarceration methods underlines a deep-seated commitment to improving the criminal justice system's approach to convict rehabilitation and welfare in Uttar Pradesh. The next hearing, scheduled for March 29, is eagerly awaited, as it promises to address these pivotal reforms further.

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