Support for Poor Prisoners Scheme
The Indian government has recently launched a special scheme called ‘Support for Poor Prisoners,’ aimed at providing financial assistance to poor prisoners who are unable to pay the penalty or the bail amount. The scheme was announced by the Home Ministry on April 7th, 2023, to provide financial support to poor people languishing in jails.
Purpose of the Scheme
The primary objective of the scheme is to provide financial support to poor people who are in prisons and are unable to afford the penalty or the bail amount. Most of the poor prisoners belong to socially disadvantaged or marginalized groups with lower education and income levels. This makes it difficult for them to come up with the necessary funds to get out of prison. The scheme will assist economically weak prisoners who are unable to avail bail or get released from prisons because of the non-payment of fines due to cash crunch.
Issuing the Official Release
The Home Ministry issued an official release regarding the scheme, stating that the broad contours of the scheme had been finalized in consultation with concerned stakeholders. The Centre will provide financial support to states to ensure that benefits reach the poor prisoners. To further strengthen the process, technology-driven solutions will be put in place, reinforcing the E-prisons platform, strengthening District Legal Services Authority, and sensitization and capacity building of stakeholders to ensure that quality legal aid is made available to needy poor prisoners.
The Role of Prisons in the Criminal Justice System
Prisons play an essential role in the Criminal Justice System and uphold the rule of law. To ensure that the prisoners are treated fairly and with respect, the Ministry of Home Affairs has been sharing important guidelines with state governments through various advisories issued from time to time.
Financial Support Provided to State Governments
The Ministry of Home Affairs has been providing financial support to state governments to enhance and modernize the security infrastructure in prisons. It has taken steps to solve issues pertaining to undertrials in prisons from time to time. These include the insertion of Section 436A in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the insertion of a new chapter XXIA ‘Plea Bargaining’ in the CrPC.
Free Legal Aid to Poor Prisoners
Legal Services Authority provides free legal aid to poor prisoners at various levels, ensuring that they are not left alone to face the legal system. This is a significant step in ensuring that the rule of law is upheld and that no one is left behind.