In a bid to ensure the safety of first-time criminals inside Tihar Jail, the officials are planning to completely segregate them from habitual criminals. After shifting the two categories of prisoners to separate wards inside the jail, they are now planning to send two for court production in separate jail vans.

The move is a result of ongoing discussions about the safety of first-time offenders inside the jail after Ram Singh, accused in the December 16 gangrape case died under mysterious circumstances and other accused were repeatedly attacked allegedly by habitual criminals inside the jail.

Tihar officials have confirmed that they are working out on a plan with the Delhi police’s 3 battalion which is responsible for providing jail vans and protection of the prisoners while they are being taken to court.

Spokesperson Tihar jail, Sunil Gupta told The Hindu, “We are working out on a plan to send first-time offenders and habitual criminals for court-production in separate jail vans. We held a meeting with the senior Delhi police officials in this regard on Friday.”

This is an important step keeping in mind the safety of first-time offenders, added Mr. Gupta.

A senior Delhi police official confirmed the meeting.

On an average 1,300 under-trail prisoners are taken for hearing to different courts every day. Out of this 1,300, 40 per cent of the prisoners are first-time offenders, informed a jail official.

According to a senior police official, the Delhi police requested the Tihar jail officials to provide them the number of under-trial prisoners who need to be produced to court everyday. They will then compile the number of prisoners and the court which they are taken to for arranging the jail vans accordingly.

As per the official data of the Delhi police, sixty jail vans including big vans and small vans provided by the Delhi Police are currently being used by the jail officials.

“The number of jail vans that are pressed into action everyday depends on how the number of prisoners that need to be taken for hearing. If there is a need to segregate the first-time offenders from habitual criminals, we will have to know the exact requirement of the jail authorities,” said a police official.

Other such reforms were introduced in the jail after a panel of judges had visited the jail in March this year. The visit came following a writ petition filed Multiple Action Research Group (MARG) a non-profit organisation alleging human rights violations at Tihar Central Jail. The judges who visited four jails at the complex had made a number of recommendations including the one to segregate habitual criminals from first-time offenders.

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