ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Prisons without Bars

A Study of the Open Prison System of Rajasthan

Rajasthan has had a history of open prisons, which however have not been emulated elsewhere in the country. This article is based on a report on such an alternative prison system written by the author as directed by the Supreme Court. It makes a series of suggestions about the various issues that need to be tackled to allow the open prison system to fulfil its potential for prisoner reform.

This article is based on the report “The Open Prisons of Rajasthan,” published by the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority. In the ongoing matter regarding inhuman conditions in 1,382 prisons, the apex court has ordered the states to examine the feasibility of implementing the suggestions made by the author.

Justice K S Jhaveri, Executive Chairman, Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority (RSLSA), and Judge, Rajasthan High Court, appointed me as the honorary prison commissioner to study the open prison system of Rajasthan. I visited 15 open prisons across the state and conducted detailed interviews of 428 convicted prisoners who live in these prisons. It took me seven months to conduct the study and submit my report “The Open Prisons of Rajasthan,” to RSLSA (Chakraburtty 2017).

The RSLSA submitted the report to the Supreme Court. Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta ordered all states to study the recommendations made in pages 27–29 of the report and submit their response to the apex court.1 The Court ordered the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to hold a meeting of the director general (DG) and inspector general (IG), prisons, of all the states and union territories, within the first week of February, and further ordered the MHA to invite the amicus curie, Gaurav Agarwal, and the researcher (this author) to the meeting. The next hearing is scheduled on 21 February.

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Updated On : 16th Feb, 2018
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