Prisoners share shaving blades, face HIV risk: Parliament report

February 26th, 2009 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) A parliamentary standing committee on the implementation of prison reforms in its report Thursday said that the prisoners risk HIV and other diseases as they share shaving blades.
“Several prisoners use the same blade for shaving. This may result in diseases, including HIV/AIDS,” said the report.

The parliamentary sub-committee was set up April 2007 to review the implementation of the central scheme of modernisation of prison administration.

The sub-committee visited various jails across the country and presented a report before both houses of parliament Thursday.

The sub-committee found economically poor undertrials do not get sufficient financial help to defend themselves in court.

“Public prosecutors need to be given better payment for motivation to take up the cases of poor prisoners,” its report said.

The committee, after visiting Delhi’s Tihar jail, directed its authorities to post young and dynamic officers as jail superintendents for effective and meaningful management of jails.

“It was observed that most of the present incumbents were promotees, in the age group of 56-59 years, and not capable of withstanding the high stress assignment. They are unable to exercise effective supervision and control in managing the prison affairs,” the report said.

Some of the common problems faced by the inmates in the jail highlighted by the report were:

* Overcrowding of jails and understaffing in jail administration.

* Prisoners do not get adequate medical facilities, due to which many undertrials die.

* Prisoners’ wards, particularly women’s, do not have enough soap and other washing materials.

* A nexus between jail officials and inmates leading to prevalence of contraband drugs in the jails.

* Due to lack of sufficient police escorts, undertrials are often not taken to the courts on the due date, which results in their prolonged detention.

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