Punjab Police yesterday told Supreme Court the supreme court that there are as many as 823 and 175 female inmates in different prisons in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), respectively.
This was revealed during the hearing of the suo motu case regarding the miserable conditions of women in jails by the three member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nasir.
Assistant Advocate General Punjab Mudhasir Khalid Abbasi while submitting a report before the bench revealed that out of the total female prisoners confined in Punjab 61 are condemned prisoners, 172 are convicted while 586 are under trial prisoners and 4 are female internees.
The court was also informed that 113 female prisoners are detained along with 130 children.
The report, reads that only one prison in the whole of the Punjab province is exclusively reserved for female inmates. However, there are a total of 31 prisons specified for under trail female prisoners. After trial and conviction awarded by the courts, the females prisoners are shifted to Women Prison Multan, which is totally managed by the female officers. At the Multan prison, the inmates are imparted training in different trades for their successful rehabilitation in society upon their release.
The report also claims that at present no female prisoner confined in Punjab is suffering from any mental/ psychiatric disorder.
The court was informed that the children accompanying their inmate mothers having age up to 6 year are provided education inside the jail, while the children above 6 year of age are shifted to SOS Village for further education.
Commenting on the steps taken by the provincial government, the report says “the government of Punjab has taken unprecedented steps to reduce overcrowding in prisons including those reserved for women prisoners. The construction of 12 new jails including high security jail at Sahiwal, Mianwali and a sub jail at Shujabad is at different stages of completion. Through this mega project, additional accommodation for 11500 prisoners will be created to reduce over-crowding to great extent.” It further adds that 9.2billion has been approved for this project.
The report further reveals that during the last five years, a total number of 2,711 prisoners including female inmates were released after the payment of 118.149 million provided by the provincial government and philanthropists.
The Punjab government has claimed that at present, no women or juvenile prisoner is confined in the province in lieu of unpaid Diyat, Arsh, Daman or fine.
According to the report since the promulgation of National Judicial Policy 2009, a total number of 42,811 under trail prisoners including female inmates involved in petty cases have been released by the orders of District & session judges on their fortnightly visits.
Spelling out provincial government’s five years programme to improve the condition of the prisoners, the apex court was told that judicial lockups will be converted into sub jails at each Tehsil headquarters. Prisons Management Information System (PMIS) for computerization of all records and digitalization of business processes will be established, while hardware has already been installed in 20 jails and the process of computerization is under way.
The court was also informed that the government will construct new jails at Nankana Sahib, Chiniot & Khushab districts where currently no jail exists. Likewise, district jails at Lahore and Rawalpindi will also be established to overcome the problem overcrowding in prisons. The provincial government also plans to install CCTV cameras in jails and establish of Central Control room for prisons.
Meanwhile, Additional Advocate General K-P Waqar Ahmad Khan has submitted that total of 175 female inmates are confined in the different jails of the province.
During the course of hearing, the top court appointed senior lawyer Asma Jahangir as amicus curiae and directed all the provincial government to file comprehensive report in this matter.
The hearing of the case was then adjourned for two weeks.