People urged to remove their misconceptions about prisons
Coimbatore: Prisons are meant for transforming the inmates and not places of punishment, observed the Judge of the Madras High Court, Justice P.D. Dinakaran here on Saturday.
He was speaking at a function organised to release a book authored by City Police Commissioner, C.K. Gandhirajan "Inside Prisons" at a function organised by the publishers Manimegalai Publications at the Kovai Book Fair.
Justice Dinakaran released the book and the Additional Director General of Police (Prison) R.Sekar received the first copy.
Exhorting the public to erase their misconceptions about prisons, Justice Mr. Dinakaran said, "It is not that every one commits an offence with an intention, but most of them are victims of circumstances."
Referring to Article 21 of the Constitution, Mr.Dinakaran said that right to liberty holds good for every one, even prisoners were entitled to rights prescribed by the law.
Freedom, liberty and rights can never be taken away without valid reasons.
Prisons could only curtail the freedom of movement and ensure isolation but could not arrest the freedom of thought.
Right from womb to tomb, every one goes through imprisonment but only their nature and forms differed.
He said that even leaders were imprisoned in their fight for freedom and rights; hence prisons were not places to be seen with a stigma.
Referring to the case of the custodial rape of Reeta Mary, Mr.Dinakaran said that the Government deserved a salute for having come forward to rehabilitate and compensate the victim by conceding all the recommendations including the optional and suggestive ones even at the pre-trial stage.
The notion that the executives would always protect their department was proved wrong by a fair investigation in this case, he said.
The book by Dr.Gandhirajan dealt with issues such as disbursement of compensation to the victims from the fund created by reserving 20 per cent of the wages earned by the prisoners during their sentence.
The author had pointed out that steps should be taken to fully implement this.
Similarly, the author had suggested a revolutionary thought about right to family life for the prisoners so as to prevent consequential crimes.
Denial of right to family even for a brief period had resulted in unnatural sex practices and contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.
The book needed to be analysed deeply for the lawmakers to bring in changes in rules, Mr.Dinakaran said.
The ADGP, Mr.Sekar said that the book was a guide for the prisoners on their rights as well as for the administration.
Days of cellular prisons were over, he said, and noted that prisons have been modernised to make the inmates feel that they were there transformation.
The Deputy Inspector-General of Prisons, Coimbatore Range, P. Munivelu said that prison administration always looked at an inmate not at the offences for which they were imprisoned.
The objective was to only make them fit for the society on their discharge.
In his acceptance speech, Dr.Gandhirajan said that it was an attempt by an outsider to bring out a glimpse of "Inside the prison".
The Principal District Sessions Judge, G. Chockalingam and Ravi Tamilvanan offered felicitations.