But, unfortunately, here in Pakistan having such reformatory jails is just pie in the sky. Punishment is useless if it carries no result and in our jails these punishments bear no fruit, as they bring no reformation or standards of morality to the criminals. Government representatives, jail administration, lawyer community and police should altogether take steps to bring into practice the jail reforms. When contacted Saleemullah Khan, former IG, said: “Proper care and safeguard is vital in making these prisoners a useful part of the society. First of all, betterment should start from the police and jail staff. They must be trained to adopt a polite and acceptable behavior towards the inmates. Every jail should have a system of reformation for imparting education. The prisoners sentenced to a long period of punishments must be taught different skills such as tailoring, mechanics, wood craft, handicraft and computer skills etc.”
Discussing an important hindrance in bringing reforms, he said Western countries keep changing and upgrading their laws from time to time. “Modification process is quite fast in that part of the world whereas in Pakistan we stick to one law for years. So is the case with the Prisons Act. We are still following Prison Act 1894 that actually needs to be updated.” He added: “Establishment of open jails is an innovative concept, meant to reform and rehabilitate the prisoners. This way the prisoners are enabled to get the training and learn different skills. By working in such prisons they also participate in the national development and increase in agriculture output. Because of being development-oriented, the concept of open jails is quite successfully practiced in India. In Pakistan, we need to implement this scheme in earnest.”
Jails Manual does possess rules of providing prisoners general and vocational education as well as provides for remission to prisoners who qualify any examination. But not withstanding such rules, no proper and organized system for imparting education and inculcating a respect for the law into the prisoners exist. Prisoners should be provided with facilities to acquire higher qualification. Such facilities should include classrooms, qualified teachers and reading material. Where appropriate and needed, the services of educated prisoners may also be utilized for this purpose. Each jail should have a well-stocked library containing books, magazines and newspapers. General public should also come forward to donate books and other printed material to jail inmates. Arrangements should be made to properly utilize the existing open jails and establish new ones. Prison reforms cannot achieve the desired goal unless the prison staff is properly trained and motivated. Training should be both in respect of keeping security as well as the treatment of prisoners. Prison staff may be sent to the other institutions for such trainings in relevant laws and rules and to learn better management techniques.
In a nutshell, prisoners in Pakistan are not treated equitably and fairly so a thorough reformation process should be considered. Necessary steps should be taken to ameliorate the intolerable and poor condition of jails. Criminals should be punished although it’s far more expedient to rehabilitate them instead of just putting them behind the bars and blocking them out. They should be re-educated and rehabilitated before being reintroduced to the society. This is the only way to help them turn over a new leaf.