10. RIGHTS OF PRISONERS
“Convicts are not by mere reason of the conviction denuded of all the fundamental rights
which they otherwise possess.
Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer(Sunil Batra Vs. Delhi Administration., 1978)A prison, jail or correctional facility is a place in which individuals are physicallyconfined or detained and usually deprived of a range of personal freedom. Theseinstitutions are an integral part of the criminal justice system of a country. There arevarious types of prisons such as those exclusively for adults, children, female, convictedprisoners, under-trial detainees and separate facilities for mentally ill offenders. In thischapter
, “prisons” refer to
only adult correctional facilities.Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal punishment that may be imposed by the state forthe commission of a crime or disobeying its rule. The objective of imprisonment varies indifferent countries and may be: a) punitive and for incapacitation, b) deterrence, and c)rehabilitative and reformative (Scott CL & Gerbasi JB., 2005). In general, theseobjectives have evolved over time as shown in the accompanying figure. The primarypurpose and justification of imprisonment is to protect society against crime andretribution. In current thinking, punitive methods of treatment of prisoners alone areneither relevant nor desirable to achieve the goal of reformation and rehabilitation of prison inmates. The concept of Correction, Reformation and Rehabilitation has come tothe foreground and the prison administration is now expected to function in a curativeand correctional manner (Karnataka Prisons 2009). Human rights approaches and humanrights legislations have facilitated a change in the approaches of correctional systems, andthey have evolved from being reactive to proactive
ly safeguarding prisoners‟ rights.
TheUnited Nations has also provided several standards and guidelines, through minimal rulesor basic principles in the treatment of prisoners (United Nations 1977).The State is under an obligation for protecting the human rights of its citizens as well asto protect the society at large, and is authorised to do so. To protect the citizens from anypossible abuse of this authority, they are given certain basic privileges recognised by theConstitution of India as Rights. Elevation of such claims to the status of Rights, gives the
Suresh Bada Math, Pratima Murthy, Rajani Parthasarthy, C Naveen Kumar, S Madhusudhan (2011).Minds Imprisoned: Mental Health Care in Prisons.Publication, National Institute of Mental Health Neuro Sciences, Bangalore.Ref:Page 148-161