Jammu and Kashmir will have more prisons with a reformation plan to overcome the problem of congestion in the existing prisons. Prisons department is soon starting various vocational courses in the jails to ensure livelihood to detainees after they walk free.

According to a plan submitted by Director-General of Prisons Ashok Bhan to the government, three more prisons for Kulgam, Doda and Ramban districts have been proposed to deal with the soaring number of prisoners which has crossed 2,300 as on date. Jails at Kargil, Bandipore, Anantnag and Kishtwar will become functional soon but Kupwara is all set to get its first district jail within a week as it is being completed on priority.

Dr. Bhan told The Hindu thinning of inmates was must as some jails are overcrowded. Setting up of new jails will come as a big relief to hundreds of inmates who are under trial and have to travel long distances to appear in sessions courts which are located at district headquarters. Pointing out that in remote districts of Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban there is only one jail in Kishtwar which too is running in a private house. “So a detente has to travel either from Jammu or Udhampur for hearing in Doda” he said adding that the objective was to ensure speedy trial by which the detainees can get justice.

The number of detainees has increased manifold in the last 20 years mainly due to militancy but still the number of inmates related to militancy is less. Total number of detainees linked to militancy is around 350 out of which 24 are convicts and rest under trials or booked under Public Safety Act. For the reformation of jails, Dr. Bhan said : “we have entered into an agreement with DOAECC which will start three Computer Centres in Jammu, Kot Bhalwal and Srinagar jails where three month long courses with online examination facility will be launched within next 10 days.” Dr Bhan said that video conferencing between some of the jails and courts is also on the anvil and now the remand can be sought in jails only. “This will go a long way to minimize the process” he said.