A modern approach to criminal justice system must espouse a gender perspective to the policies and programs for prison reforms. Women, undeniably, are one of the most vulnerable groups within the four walls with imminent risk to their safety, health and basic rights.
To address this need, National Legal Services Authority has launched a 10-day campaign to identify key issues impacting the wellbeing of women prisoners and take concrete steps to secure and promote their rights. The campaign across the country started on 17th May,2018.
The campaign spearheaded by NALSA and would be executed through State Legal Services Authorities (SLSAs) and District Legal Service Authorities (DLSAs) across the nation with collaboration of Departments of Prisons, Health, Women and Child and Education.
The foremost objective of the campaign is to empower the women inmates by creating awareness about their rights and the services of legal services institutions. Special focus would also be laid on pregnant inmates, the mentally challenged, the differently abled and those suffering from depression. Further issues surrounding their health, education, vocational training and recreational facilities for women inmates and their dependent children in the prison would be addressed during the campaign. The LSAs would also ensure that identity documents of their dependent children are also prepared.
The extensive task of ensuring the overall wellbeing of women inmates would be brought about by a careful synthesis across agencies. DLSAs shall form a core team consisting of panel lawyers (preferably women), Psychologist, Lady Doctor(s), and an official each from Departments of Women and Child, Prison, Health and education. The civil society would closely partner throughout the campaign.
Apprised with the individual details of all the under trial and convicts, the prisoner and other specific issues, NGOs involved in cases the teams would carry out detailed interactions with women inmates to attain a comprehensive understanding of their problems and needs.
While the number of women prisoners is on the rise, the prison systems, both infrastructural and facilities as male centric with little regard to gender specific requirements of women.
Considering the statistics of prison population as on 31/3/2018 a total of 18, 858 female prisoners were in India, out of which 13,165 were under trials and 5693 convicts. A total of around 1735 children are residing in prisons along with their mothers.