Committee recommends smoking zones for female prisoners.
Mumbai: A high-powered committee has made a raft of recommendations including setting up smoking zones for women in Maharashtra jails and providing female inmates bangles, bindi, shampoo and sanitary pads and giving them medical check-up once a month.
The committee, which was appointed by the State Women’s Commission, has also recommended installation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in all barracks and jail premises except toilets. The committee was constituted after the death of woman inmate Manjula Shetye on June 23, 2017 allegedly due to the brutal assault by Byculla jail staff.
The committee also recommended sending women prisoners to open jails after serving three years of punishment instead of five years, allowing women prisoners to meet their children regularly who are more than six years of age, and visits to the prison by specialist doctors periodically.
The committee comprised retired high court judge Anand Nirgude, retired director general of police Praveen Dixit and a social worker from Pune, Anjali Deshpande. The high-powered committee visited some jails across the state and held long discussions with women prisoners to understand the difficulties they are facing in prison. On Monday, the chairman of the State Women’s Commission, Vijaya Rahatkar submitted the committee’s report to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mantralaya.
Talking to The Asian Age, Ms Rahatkar said, “Many women prisoners eat tobacco regularly or smoke bidi or cigarettes. These things are not allowed in jails, but they are getting illegally. If they don’t get these things, they become violent. So the committee felt that there should be smoking zones inside the jails.”
She said, “The committee studied all issues and problems of women prisoners and made recommendations in detail. CM Fadnavis today assured that the government would implement those as soon as possible. “
The recommendation of setting up smoking zones in prisons may stir controversy, as male prisoners may demand the same facility. Sources said that the home department and jail authorities would study the report and then take a decision.