Reform schools for juvenile prisoners urged -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Reform schools for juvenile prisoners urged

PESHAWAR, May 14: Participants at a workshop on Wednesday called upon the provincial government to enact a law for establishing borstals as there were around 269 juvenile offenders in different prisons across the province.

The speakers said that till now the provincial government had neither issued any notification nor enact a law for the establishment of borstal institutions.They said that of the 269 juvenile offenders, 225 were under-trail whereas rest of 44 were convicted and had now been undergoing different prison terms.

Addressing the concluding session of a two-day capacity building workshop organised by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) for its child rights committees (CRC), NWFP Minister for Prisons Mian Nisar Gul, who was the chief guest, assured the participants that they would take different steps for the betterment of the prisoners especially juvenile offenders.

The workshop was addressed by regional manager of Sparc, Jehanzeb Khan, protection manager, Ijaz Khan, national protection manager, Waseem Khan, and another member Rizwan Ahmad. At the end of the workshop the minister distributed certificates among the participants.

The minister stated that he had been working on a plan for reforming the prison system. He added that the prisoners were human beings and they had their fundamental rights.

He said that they had been trying to provide necessary facilities to the prisoners. He added that NGOs should come forward and support the government in introducing different reforms in the prisons.

He stated that they would strive for implementing the laws related to children and where there were shortcomings in the laws necessary amendments and legislation would be done.

Other speakers said that it was need of the hour to make the law related to children more effective. They said that the 14 CRCs functioned in different districts of the province and two operated in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

They said that for improving plight of children it was necessary that CRC should play active role in their respective spheres of work. They urged the minister to introduce special schooling facilities for the imprisoned children.

The speakers said that the conditions of prisons were not up to the mark and against the capacity of 7,644 prisoners in all the prisons presently 8,515 prisoners had been imprisoned.

Members of Sparc said that 46 juvenile offenders hailing from NWFP had been imprisoned in different prisons of Punjab province. They asked the minister for taking steps for shifting those prisoners to NWFP.
Source: Dawn
Date:5/15/2008