LAW, ORDER AND JUSTICE
Organisation: For the purpose of Prison administration, the State is divided into two divisions, viz., Eastern and Western. The eastern division is composed of the revenue divisions of Aurangabad and Nagpur and the western division, those of Bombay and Pune. The Inspector General of Prisons, Maharashtra State, Pune, exercises general control and superintendence over all prisons and jails in the State, subject to the orders of the State Government. The Superintendents of Nagpur Central Prison and the Yeravada Central Prison have been appointed as the ex-officio, Inspector Generals of Prisons for the Pastern and Western Divisions, respectively. Some of the powers exercised by the Inspector General of Prisons have been delegated to the Deputy Inspector General of Prisons. They are in immediate overall charge of the prisons in their respective spheres.
The Superintendent. Akola District Prison, is vested with the executive management of the prison in all matters relating to internal discipline, economy, labour, punishment, etc., subject to the orders and authority of the Regional Deputy Inspector-General of Prisons, Nagpur and the Inspector General of Prisons, Pune. He is assisted in his work by the ministerial and field staff. The services of well-behaved convict overseers are utilised for doing patrolling duty outside the sleeping barracks but inside the jail at night time. The main wall and outer yards are always manned for duty by the guarding staff.
The prison at Akola has been classified as a class I prison. The prison is meant for confinement of casual prisoners sentenced up to five years. Local under-trial prisoners are also kept in this prison. The five magisterial lock-ups are located at Akot, Balapur, Mangrulpir, Murtizapur and Washim.
Accommodation: The authorised accommodation of this prison is 650 males and 22 females.
Recruitment: The post of the Inspector General of Prisons is filled in by appointment of an Indian Civil Service or an Indian Administrative Service Officer or by promotion from amongst those who are borne on the cadre of the Superintendent of Central Prisons (i. e., including the holder of the post of the Deputy inspector General) or by transfer of a suitable officer in Maharashtra Medical Service, class
I or by direct recruitment.
The Superintendents of Central Prisons are officers promoted from the ranks of Superintendents of District Prisons. The seniormost Superintendent of Central Prison is usually appointed to hold the post of Deputy Inspector General in consultation with the Public Service Commission. The Superintendents of District Prisons are appointed both by direct recruitment or by promotion from amongst Jailors in Grade 1 in the proportion of 1:2. Jailors in Grade 1 are also appointed both by direct recruitment and by departmental promotion from amongst Jailors in Grade II in the proportion of 1:2. The candidates for direct recruitment to the post of Superintendent of District Prison and-or Jailor, Grade I must hold a bachelor's degree with
honours. They are recommended for appointment by the State Public Service Commission. A diploma in Sociology and Penology is considered to be an additional qualification. Appointments to Jailors Grade II are made by the Inspector General by promotion of Jailors in Grade III. Appointments to Jailors Grade III are also made by the Inspector General of Prisons. However, 50 per cent of the posts are open to outside candidates who must necessarily be graduates, while the remaining posts are tilled by promotion of suitable departmental candidates, who have passed the S. S. C. or its equivalent examination. The candidates for appointment to the posts of Jailor Grade
III, are interviewed by a Selection Board consisting of the Inspector General and two Superintendents of Prisons, who are nominated by Government. The posts of sepoys are filled in by direct recruitment and the higher posts from the guarding establishment are generally filled in by promotion according to seniority. But if suitable persons according to seniority are not available, appointments to the posts in higher grade are made by selection from amongst the members of the next lower rank or by nomination of candidates with some high academic qualifications fixed for similar posts. Medical Officers are drafted for services in Jail Dapartment for a period of two years from Medical Department
Training: The Jail Officer's Training School established at Pune in 1959, imparts practical as well as theoretical training to prison officers (Superintendents of Prisons and Jailors, Grades I and II) on various subjects relating to correctional administration and prison management Training facilities are also provided for guards and non-commissioned officers. A separate training class of three months duration for non-commissioned officers has been started at Jail Officer's Training School to impart the practical knowledge of the duties which are expected of a jail guard.
A physical training Instructor visits the prisons in State in rotation and imparts training in drill, games and other physical activities both to the inmates of the jail and also to the jail guards.
Medical staff: A full time medical officer on deputation from Medical department looks after the prisoners at the Akola District Prison.
Guarding Establishment: Part of the guarding establishment is armed. This section serves as a reserve guard to reinforce the unarmed guards in the immediate charge of prisoners inside the prison or in extramural gangs in the events of assault,
mutiny, escape or other emergency. It is also available to mount guard over particularly dangerous prisoners or prisoners sentenced to death who are termed as "condemned prisoners".
Matron: No posts of matrons are sanctioned for head-quarters sub-jails, but the Superintendent is empowered to engage a matron locally whenever a woman prisoner is admitted
to the jails.
Classification of Prisoners: Prisoners are classified as class I or class
II by the court after taking into consideration their status in society and also the nature of their offence. They are further classified as casual, habitual, undertrial and security or deienue. There is no separate class of political prisoners but certain rules which do not allow the grant of facilities and privileges on the score of length of sentence are relaxed in their favour under the specific orders of Government. Prisoners are also grouped as short-termers, medium-termers and long-termers. Prisoners with a sentence upto three months are classed as short-termers, those sentenced upto a period of three months and above but upto two years are classified as medium-termers and those sentenced upto two years and above are classified as long-termers. Headquarters sub-jails are meant for the confinement of short-term prisoners and undertrial prisoners only.
Jail Reforms: In recent years many reforms, [ Reports of Jail Reforms Committee appointed in 1946.] calculated to bring about the reformation of prisoners have been introduced. With the abolition of Whipping Act. vide Bombay Act No. XXXIX of 1957, flogging as a Jail punishment is stopped altogether so also punishments of penal diet and gunny clothing, similarly rules about letters and interviews have also been liberalised.
Work: Work is arranged according to the prisoner's health. On admission the prisoner is examined by the Medical Officer who classifies him as fit for light, medium or hard labour. The work allotment committee is constituted for Central and District Jails, the members of which have to take into account the health conditions of the prisoners, their aptitudes, past experience, etc., and assign suitable work for newly admitted prisoners with a sentence of six months and above. Any change in the work so allotted to prisoners by the committee has to be effected only with the concurrence of the members of the committee. No such committee is appointed for short term prisoners.
Prisoners are engaged in handloom weaving, pitloom weaving laundry work, carpentry, tailoring and smithy at the Akola District Prison.
The vegetable requirements of the prison are mainly met from the prison farm which is spread over 28 acres.
Wages: Medium-term and long-term prisoners so also security and undertrial prisoners who volunteer to work are paid as per the prison rules. They are generally paid l/5th of the wages which are normally paid for similar work outside, provided they complete their daily quota.
Release on Parole and Furlough: A prisoner is released on parole by the Divisional Commissioner, Nagpur Division, Nagpur in the event of serious illness or death of any member of the family or nearest relative of the prisoner or any other cause deemed sufficient. The period spent on parole is not counted as part of the sentence. A prisoner who is sentenced to more than a year and upto live years and who has actually undergone one years imprisonment is eligible for release on furlough for a period of two weeks. A prisoner sentenced to more than five years is eligible for release on furlough on completion of two years of actual imprisonment. The period spent on parole counts as part of the sentence.
Remission of sentence: Only longtermers come within the ambit of the rule on remission of sentence. Prisoners confined in the main prisons are granted liberal remissions, which are ordinary remission, annual good conduct remission, special remission, blood-donation remission for conservancy work and remission for physical training. In addition. State remission is awarded by Government on the occasions of public rejoicing. It is granted unconditionally and cannot be forfeited under any circumstances.
Board of Visitors: A Board of Visitors, comprising official
and non-official visitors, is appointed for every headquarters sub-jail and tahsil sub-jails. There are ordinarily four non-official visitors for the headquarter sub-jail out of whom two are members of the Maharashtra Legislature and two are nominated, by Government, of whom one is a lady visitor. The appointment of non-official visitors other than members of the Maharashtra Legislature is made for a period not exceeding three years. Persons, who in the opinion of Government, are interested in prison administration and are likely to take interest in the welfare of prisoners, both while they are in the prison and
alter their release are nominated by Government on the Board of Visitors on the recommendation of the District Magistrate concerned and, the Inspector General of Prisons. The chairman of the Board of Visitors, who is usually the District Magistrate. arranges for a weekly visit to the prison by one of the members of the Board. Quarterly meetings of the Board are also convened. Non-official visitors are also allowed to visit the prison on any day and at any time during the day in addition to the weekly visit arranged by the chairman. The Board records in the visitors book its observations after the detailed inspection of the jails. Any remarks at the quarterly meeting or at the weekly visits deserving special and proper disposal are immediately forwarded by the Superintendent to the Inspector General for necessary orders with such remarks as the former may desire to offer.
In bigger jails a committee of prisoners is selected for each year by the prisoners themselves and the Jailor and Superintendent consult the committee which is known as "jail panchayat committee" in matters of discipline and general welfare of prisoners.
With a view to providing training on co-operation and disciplined way of life and in cultivating sense of responsibility and self reliance among the inmates, a panchayat of convicted prisoners has been organised at the District Prison.
The cases of long term prisoners are initially reviewed by the Advisory Board. Prisoners deserving concessions are released prematurely under the orders of Government.
Education: Literacy classes are conducted for those prisoners who are ignorant of the three 'R's under the supervision of literate convicts and paid teachers who are appointed only at some of the main jails in the State. Regular annual examinations are held in the jail by the Deputy Educational Inspectors. Towards these literacy classes, the Jail department receives a grant-in-aid from the Education department. Twenty-five per cent of the grant-in-aid received is given to convict teachers as encouragement after the quarterly examinations of the students (prisoners) are held and remaining portion is utilised towards the purchase of books, boards, etc., required for the literacy classes.
Films of educational and reformative values are also exhibited by the District or the Regional Publicity Officer concerned. Newspapers are also supplied to the prisoners at the cost of the Government. Besides, they are allowed to retain books of
religious as well as non-religious nature. Music programmes
and such other cultural programmes are also arranged for the benefit of prisoners.
Discipline: Emphasis is laid on the maintenance of good discipline in the prison. Positive and constructive discipline is treated as the basic foundation for wholesome changes in the
attitudes of prisoners.