Overcrowding issue at Faisalabad central jail

Updated February 25, 2019

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FAISALABAD: The Punjab government is turning a blind eye towards the issues of the central jail which is having prisoners more than its capacity and its family barracks are also yet to be made functional despite being constructed about two years ago.

Report of a security agency reads that the central jail is a sensitive establishment where prisoners of various religious and political parties have been detained in high-security barracks. Such barracks have the capacity of about 90 to 100 prisoners, however, currently, 400 to 450 prisoners have been detained in the high-security cells.

It is not appropriate to detain sensitive prisoners in the same cells and it can lead to any eventuality.

Besides, the report says, the central jail can accommodate 1,000 to 1,200 prisoners but it has 3,400 to 3,500 prisoners. The overloading in jails is causing immense problems, it says.

The report says more high-security and ordinary barracks are the need of the hour. Mentioning the issue of family barracks, the report says, such barracks had been constructed for the married prisoners. The family barracks had been such that the prisoners having long-term imprisonment could meet their families for a couple of days after three to four months.

Sources said the construction of family barracks had been completed about two years ago in Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad. They said it was the prime responsibility of the Punjab government to make these barracks functional.

As many as 54 family barracks had been constructed at the Faisalabad central jail. “The family rooms are complete in all respects and the jail authorities have also evolved a strategy of the prisoners meeting with their families,” they said.

Sources said that following the human rights issues the facility of prisoners meeting with their family was the need of the hour as there were a large number of prisoners who haven’t met their families for long. They said such situations caused stress and trauma which was not beneficial for the prisoners who would ultimately disrupt the peace inside the prisons.

A lawyer said delay on part of the Punjab government was creating disappointment among the prisoners who wish to have few days with their families. He said the facility would also help prisoners avoid psychological issues they had been facing at the prisons because of their disassociation with the family.

He said jail officers would also heave a sigh of relief as they often face problems from the prisoners having some psychological issues.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2019