PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has installed biometric identification system in 14 prisons of the province and signed an agreement with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the up-gradation and extension of the Prisoners Management Information System in the province.

Briefing federal ombudsperson Syed Tahir Shahbaz about the current state of prisons in the province here on Friday, Inspector General (Prisons) Khalid Abbas said the overcrowding of jails had been reduced up to 37 per cent due to upgradation of different jails. He said during the current financial year, the under-construction jails in Swat and Hangu districts would ease the prisoner burden.

The meeting reviewed progress and implementation status of the recommendations of the prisons reforms committee as entrusted by the Supreme Court, according to an official statement.

Chief secretary Dr Kazim Niaz, police chief, IG (prisons), home secretary, the law, industries, social welfare and health secretaries, and Wafaqi Mohtasib secretary Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, senior adviser Ejaz A Qureshi and other stakeholders attended the meeting.

The ombudsperson said biometric identification system should be installed in all jails of KP and integrated with all departments of criminal administrative justice system.

Mr Abbas said in the second phase, the central jails in Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan and district jails in Swabi and Swat would be ready, while work on district jails in Tank, Shangla and Upper Dir was in the pipeline.

The participants discussed progress of the provincial and district oversight committees and welfare committees to improve the life of prisoners, especially children, women and the destitute, with all the stakeholders of province.

The ombudsperson was informed that during the current quarter of the year, 56 prison visits were carried out by DOCs and 15 by POC, while five meetings were convened by the POC on the matter.

The IG (prisons) said the juvenile and women prisoners had already been segregated, while the prisoners’ voluntary donation fund and free legal aid committee had been established.

He said the Rescue 1122 had begun emergency treatment in five central prisons, whereas patients of viral diseases i.e. hepatitis and HIV had been screened and mini-labs had been established in 12 jail hospitals.

Mr Abbas said the provincial government had already exempted all prisoners from examination or verification fee.

He said formal education was provided to 2,598 prisoners and nazira, tarjuma and hifze Quran to 1,040 prisoners.

The IG (prisons) said Rs7.053 million was donated in the last six months to pay diyat, arsh and daman for the release of destitute prisoners.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2021



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