Federal Ombudsman reviews progress on prison reforms in Sindh

Federal Ombudsman reviews progress on prison reforms in Sindh

KARACHI, Nov 24 (APP): Federal Ombudsman, Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi Friday said that prison reforms initiated under directives of the Supreme Court continued as bio-metric system was installed in 14 prisons of Sindh while a facility of online meeting was made available to the jail inmates.

The Federal Ombudsman, while chairing a meeting to review progress on prison reforms in Sindh, said that the online meeting facility would enable the relatives, who otherwise could not afford to travel to meet the prisoners, could get in contact with the inmates through computers and mobile phones at home.

Additional Chief Secretary Home, Secretaries of Local Government and Health departments, IG Prisons Sindh, head of Wafaqi Mohtasib Regional Office Karachi Syed Anwar Hyder and senior officers of other relevant departments attended the meeting.

Ejaz Qureshi informed the meeting that up till now 15 implementation reports on prison reforms had been submitted to the Supreme Court while the 16th report would be presented soon.

He directed the Inspector General Prisons Sindh to expedite work on installation of the bio-metric system in all prisons in the province, besides construction of the Thatta Jail.

On the recommendations of the Reforms Committee, steps should be taken to connect the bio-metric system with the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA), police, prosecution and other relevant agencies, he further instructed.

Referring to the medical facilities for the prisoners, the Ombudsman directed officers of Prisons and Health departments to ensure the provision of doctors in all prisons.

The Federal Ombudsman was briefed that needy and destitute prisoners were being provided free legal aid and financial assistance to settle their fines with the cooperation of legal aid offices, NGOs and philanthropists. The basic facilities of clean drinking water, washrooms, sports places, education, health and waiting areas were also being ensured in the prisons while female, juvenile, and transgender prisoners were being kept in separate sections.

The meeting was further informed that drug addicts, mentally unstable and those suffering from T.B, Hepatitis, and other critical diseases were being kept in separate barracks and duly attended by doctors.

Arrangements of technical education had also been made in the prisons and free education system from class one to matric had been introduced in all prisons and arrangements were also in hand to conduct their exams in the premises of the respective jails, it was told.

Furthermore, books and reading material on religious and social themes were being provided in the libraries for character building.

The Ombudsman lauded the steps and some new initiatives by the Sindh Government, which, he hoped, would lead to a better environment for prisoners.

He stated that the conditions of prisons located in Sindh also needed to be reviewed to provide facilities for legal aid, healthcare, education, and skill development at par with the Central Prison Karachi.

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