Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi on June 25, 2018 launched the report titled ‘Women in Prisons’.
The report throws light on the condition of women in prisons and their entitlements; issues faced by them and possible methods for resolution of the same.
The report contains a comprehensive list of 134 recommendations for improving the lives of women under incarceration, addresses a wide range of issues pertaining to pregnancy and childbirth in prison, their mental health, legal aid and reintegration in society.
‘Women in Prisons’ Report
• The report covers a wide range of issues that women face in prisons. It not only considers the needs of pregnant women, but also those who have recently given birth, those who have miscarried, or those who have recently undergone abortion.
• It suggests that the women with care-giving responsibilities must be allowed to make arrangements for their children prior to their imprisonment. If there is no family or friends to look after the child (above 6 years of age), then he must be placed in a Child Care Institution.
• It proposes amendment in Section 436A of the CrPC for granting bail to those under-trial women who have spent one-third of their maximum possible sentence in detention.
• It recommends separate accommodation for mothers in post-natal stage to maintain hygiene and protect the infant from infection for at least a year after childbirth.
• It suggests special provisions for women who have recently given birth outside prison, or who have undergone abortion or miscarriage. It also suggests that pregnant women must be given information and access to abortion during imprisonment.
• It suggests that legal consultations must be conducted in confidentiality and without censorship.
• It proposes re-integration programme for released women, covering employment, financial support, regaining of child custody, continuity of health care services etc.
• It recommends that prison authorities should coordinate with local police to ensure released prisoners are not harassed by them due to the attached stigma.
• It recommends robust grievance redressal system for women to tackle cases of sexual harassment, violence and abuse against women in jails.
• Apart from the prisoner herself, her legal adviser or family members should be allowed to make complaints regarding her stay in prison.
• Inmates should have access to female counselors or psychologists at least on a weekly basis or as frequently as needed by them.
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