Certain prisoners can stay with their families in correction homes: Bengal minister

The West Bengal government is considering framing a new law allowing certain categories of prisoners to stay with their families at the prisons within the correction homes, according to Minister of State for Correctional Services Department, Akhil Giri.

During the inauguration of a festival at Tamluk in East Midnapore district, Giri said, “The state government is trying to bring a new law, which will enable certain categories of inmates to stay with their families within the correctional homes. The homes selected for this purpose will be upgraded with proper infrastructure to accommodate this new facility.”

According to Giri, the state government is taking a number of steps to bring back the inmates to the mainstream after their prison days are over.

“The idea is not to punish them, but to reform them, so that they realise their mistakes and go back to the mainstream after their terms in the correctional homes are over. As an extension of these initiatives, the state government is considering allowing certain categories of prisoners to stay with their families within the jail premises,” Giri said.

However, officials in the State Correctional Services Department said that this might be an idea at the ministerial level, but no communication in this regard has reached them so far.

When contacted, retired IPS officer and former Additional Director General (Correctional Services), B.D. Sharma, who was the pioneer of the concept of ‘culture-therapy in correctional homes’, told IANS that this will be a wonderful initiative provided it is implemented properly.

“There are open correctional homes in the state where the inmates can stay out of their cell throughout the day, earn their livelihood, spend time with their families and come back to their cell before a specific time in the evening. So, if the families of the same category of prisoners are allowed to stay with them within the correctional homes, it will surely be a welcome move.

“The only thing is that the family barracks would have to be set up at a distance from the regular barracks. A lot of countries, especially the Scandinavian countries, have introduced this system. West Bengal has been a pioneer in many spheres, including in the area of correctional home reforms, and if such a policy is introduced, it will be yet another milestone,” a said Sharma.

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