WCD wants bail for women undertrials who have spent 1/3rd time in detention

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New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) said on Monday it has proposed that bail be granted to women undertrials who have spent one-third of their maximum possible sentence in detention.

In a report titled ‘Women in Prisons’, the ministry has listed 134 recommendations for improving the lives of women in prison, their mental health, legal aid and reintegration in society among others.

According to the ministry, the report has been sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for issuing an advisory to the states to implement the recommendations.

“Various changes in the National Model Prison Manual 2016 have also been suggested to bring it in line with international standards and norms in the report,” it said.

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The report recommends that a maximum timeframe be decided for the release of women prisoners after bail is granted. To make legal aid more effective, consultations must be conducted in confidentiality and without censorship.

“The report suggests that prior to their imprisonment, women with care-giving responsibilities must be allowed to make arrangements for their children and a reasonable suspension of detention may also be provided for this purpose.”

Considering the needs of women in their post-natal stages, the ministry has recommended a separate accommodation for mothers in post-natal stage to maintain hygiene and protect the infant from contagion, for at least a year after childbirth.

The report also suggests that pregnant women must be given information and access to abortion during incarceration, to the extent permissible by law.

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“Keeping in mind the mental needs of prisoners it has been recommended that inmates should have access to female counsellors and psychologists at least on a weekly basis or as frequently as needed by them,” it said.

Earlier this year, the ministry in collaboration with National Commission for Women (NCW) prepared a proforma which was circulated in 144 central jails across the country. The Commission also conducted several jail visits between March and June 2018.

–IANS

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