Aug 13, 2008

India - Prisons wake up to needs of physically challenged inmates

CHENNAI: The State Prison Department is working on a relief package to make the prison environment-friendly for physically challenged inmates.
The initiative is also expected to bring succour to senior citizens serving life sentences in different jails across Tamil Nadu. According to Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) R. Natraj, 87 prisoners were found to be physically challenged during a census conducted recently.
“We are also taking a list of senior citizens, particularly those above the age of 80 years. Jail Superintendents and Medical Officers have been told to interact with these inmates and submit recommendations on the extra care or facilities that can be extended to them,” he told The Hindu.
He said steps would be taken to provide crutches, wheel chairs and special toilets for the physically challenged and senior citizens. Focus would be more on their health and diet requirements. As per the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Jail Manual, efforts would be made to recommend the release of inmates with “serious” ailments and remission of sentence on merit.
Mr. Natraj said a list of orphans was also being prepared in Central prisons. “We are considering those who never had visitors over a period of one year as an orphan. An arrangement has been worked out with NGOs to provide such inmates with sweets or snacks on occasions such as birthday, festival etc. “Custodial care is a vital part of prison administration. Prisoners with diabetes and hypertension are given special diet as per the recommendations of the medical officer,” he said.

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