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4 new jails being set up in Punjab.

LAHORE -- The Punjab Prisons Department would start work on four new jails including District Jail Lahore, Rawalpindi, Chakwal and Khoshab during the current year to minimise operational burden on the existing jails besides, coping with overcrowding and clustering.

A summary to set up these jails have been approved whereas the construction work would be started this year.

However, a summary for another District Jail Nankana Sahib has yet to be approved. While, district jails at Bhakkar, Layyah and Pakpattan, Hafizabad, Narowal, Rajanpur, Okara and High Security Prison Sahiwal have recently been completed, according to the Punjab Prisons sources.

Total three jails-high security prison Mianwali, District Jail Khanewal and District Jail Lodhran

are under construction in Punjab. At present there were more than 45,000 inmates lodged in the Punjab jails, whereas authorized accommodation was for 23,617.

As per drug rehabilitation programme, all the drug addicts were confined in separate barracks and these barracks were declared as drug rehabilitation centers by the jail administration. Medical Officer

Jail was deputed to check these drug addicts regularly and provide them specialized medical treatment.

The steps taken by Prisons administration to eliminate use and presence of drugs and rehabilitation of drug addicts including daily drill/PT, observance of Salat, prohibition on smoking in rehabilitation center, proper menu of diet as recommended by University of Agriculture Science and Technology, Faisalabad, health education/counseling, special attention towards cleanliness/daily

bathing, in case of emergency (severe withdrawal symptoms) prisoner may be referred to

DHQ/teaching hospitals concerned for specialised treatment.

Special rehabilitation ward has been established at Jail hospitals of Central Jail, Lahore and

District Jail, Lahore for acute drug addicts after their admission in the Jails. In this regard a comprehensive SOP has been issued by Inspector General of Prisons Punjab to all regional

commands and Superintendents of Jails for strict compliance to improve the condition of drug

addicts.

Prisoners in the Punjab have a privilege to interview their blood relations, friends and counsel

once a week. To minimise and eliminate the illegal usage of mobile phones in Jails and facilitate the inmates by providing a facility of communication with their family members twice a week, the idea to introduce the PCOs in Jails was approved by Government of the Punjab and a pilot project was launched at District Jail Lahore in June 2013 wherein inmates were given the facility of making calls to their relatives, friends and legal counsel on five preselected numbers once a week for 20 minutes' time.

The PCOs system was completely automated and had security features like calls recording and call logs etc. The pilot project proved a resounding success which encouraged the authorities to replicate the project of PCOs in 10 larger jails of the province in Phase 1. The cost of the project was Rs28. 4 million, which was afforded by the Punjab Prisons Foundation. Phase 1 was completed

and hightech PCOs were functional in 11 jails of the province. An average of 300 inmates were using PCOs on daily basis and 70 per cent of inmates' population in Jails was taking benefit from it.

Another initiative, introduction of modern IT technologies in Prisons was a need of the hour to infuse efficiency and transparency in daily business processes and systematic treatment of prisoners' data for fast retrieval of the required information.

Therefore, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Home Department, Punjab and UNODC, Pakistan was signed on July 2, 2014 for the development of Prisons Management Information System (PMIS).

Resultantly, a Pilot Project was launched in District Jail Lahore and the UNODC extended support to the Punjab Prisons both in terms of software as well as hardware. The PMIS project envisages to automate all aspects of Prisons functionality besides maintaining a comprehensive database of the Prisoners as well as the staff.

However, the government of the Punjab sanctioned Shaheed Package for Prison officers/officials who were martyred in encounters with terrorists including death in a bomb blast and riots in jails (the package was not offered to those officials who died in an accident). They would be awarded compensation of Rs. two million from compensation fund and Rs. one million from the Punjab Prisons Foundation Fund.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 30, 2018
Words:770
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