Lucknow: Married women prisoners will soon be able to wear a “mangalsutra” and observe festivals like Karva Chauth and Teej in Uttar Pradesh jails, according to provisions of the new jail manual, which will replace the colonial-era rules in the state.
The state Cabinet approved the Uttar Pradesh Jail Manual earlier this week, doing away with redundant and impractical provisions of the 1941 rule book.
The new jail manual has adopted a more humane and sensitive approach towards jail inmates, especially women, said state minister Dharamveer Prajapati.
The new jail manual allows married women inmates to wear their “mangalsutra” (sacred thread signifying their marital status). Earlier, they were allowed to wear only bangles, anklet and nose pins of reasonable rates.
Sanitary napkins, coconut oil and shampoo are also on the list of items that will be provided to them.
Children born to imprisoned women will be registered at birth and receive all mandated vaccinations. Their naming ceremony may also be observed.
“I had gone to a jail recently where a child was born. The same day the naming ceremony was performed. The jail superintendent arranged for a Panditji and the ceremony,” Prajapati said.
In addition, education of the children living with their mothers in barracks will also be taken care of and a teacher will be provided in every jail.
To save such children from being exposed to the continuous talks in the barracks about the crime committed by their mothers, children’s parks are also being set up, the minister said.
Expectant and nursing mothers will receive all care and extra nutritious diet besides medical facilities, the minister said.
Creches and nurseries for children living with their mothers besides proper arrangement for sports, their education and entertainment find a place in the new jail manual.
Normal diet will include chutneys on all days, “kadhi-chawal” once a month, tea-biscuit every evening while bakeries will also be set up in jails.
The new manual has a provision for “sewayin” (vermicelli) on Eid and Bakrid.
Holi, Diwali and all national festivals will be celebrated with “kheer” (rice pudding) on the menu.
During the fasting, Muslim inmates will be given dates, the minister said, adding similar arrangement will be made for Hindu inmates.
Besides neem twigs that are currently provided for brushing teeth, prisoners will get tooth powder.
Any prisoner who wants to use a toothbrush and paste shall be free to buy it from the jail canteen.
Audio-visual media for education and entertainment purposes will be made available.
All visitors will be photographed and videographed, and upon the death of a loved one, inmates will have the opportunity to go to the jail gate and offer their condolences.
Meetings with blood relatives and spouses lodged in the jail will be permitted once a week and if the said relatives are in separate jails, telephone calls will be allowed.
Another important change is that undertrial prisoners will no longer be handcuffed or chained or kept in solitary confinement.
The state has 75 jails with a capacity to accommodate 62,000 prisoners. However, there are currently 1.18 lakh inmates in the jails.