System to track prisoners on parole

What is the News?

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued directions to all the states and the Union Territories on a system to track prisoners on parole.

What are the directions given by the Centre to track prisoners on parole?

Firstly, States should update recent photographs of prisoners released on parole/ furlough/premature release in the “ePrisons” and Interoperable Criminal Justice System database”. This will generate immediate alerts and facilitate easy tracking in the event of their violating the law.

Secondly, States should review the existing practices and procedures governing grant of parole, furlough and premature release to inmates as per provisions under the Model Prison Manual, 2016, and guidelines issued by the Home Ministry, National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court.

Thirdly, States should ensure that the inmates released on parole, furlough and premature release do not violate the law. For this, systems must be put in place for monitoring and follow-up of each such case.

Fourthly, Prison departments should update the details of any escape from the prison/custody on ‘ePrisons’ on a real-time basis. Quick availability of this information would facilitate police and other authorities concerned in nabbing the escapee/absconder.

Fifthly, appropriate systems should be put in place for monitoring and follow-up of each case of an inmate released on bail, parole, furlough and premature release etc. so that they do not indulge in criminal activities.

Read more: State of Prisons in India – Explained, pointwise
What is Parole?

Parole is a system of releasing a prisoner with the suspension of the sentence. The release is conditional, usually subject to behaviour, and requires periodic reporting to the authorities for a set period of time.

In India, parole (as well as furlough) are covered under the Prisons Act of 1894. Prisoners convicted of multiple murders or under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) are not eligible for parole.

Since prisons are a State subject in the Constitution, the Prisons Act of each state government defines the rules under which parole is granted in that state.

Read morePrison reforms in India

What is Furlough?

This is a concept broadly similar to parole, but with some significant differences. Furlough is given in cases of long-term imprisonment. The period of furlough granted to a prisoner is treated as remission of his sentence.

Furlough is given merely to enable the prisoner to retain family and social ties and to counter the ill effects of prolonged time spent in prison.

Source: This post is based on the articleSystem to track prisoners on parolepublished in “The Hindu” on 22nd October 2021.

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