MPs concern over unmanaged jails


Submitting a series of recommendations, the human rights commit­tee of the National Assembly has pointed out the need to improve jails in the country.

The report stated that jails in the country lacked infrastructural facilities. It further said that overcrowding was com­mon in jails and detention centers across the country.

According to report, at the end of April this year, there were 1,078 prisoners against the total prison capac­ity of 846. Thimphu city police detention centre held 62 detainees against its capacity of 56. Chamgang jail detained 426 people against its capacity of 296 and Thimphu district court jail held 186 detainees against its capacity of 70 in­mates only.

The 14-page report ob­served that the Thimphu city police station was not only crowded but it lacked proper ventilation posing risk to health and hygiene of inmates.

Lack of toilet facilities in most prison rooms, the human rights committee reported, was “quite disgusting, un­hygienic and inhuman”. The report said that Thimphu city police detention centre and Thimphu district court jail did not have attached bathrooms. Inmates shared common toilets outside their rooms during daytime. But at night, they used buckets. The com­mittee stressed that construc­tion of attached toilets in all detention centres and prisons needed to be given priority.

The report said most jails did not have security gadgets for safety and security of guards and inmates. The committee further pointed out that there was a need for more reformative activities for jails and detention centers like vocational activities, counsel­ing and distance education for school dropout convicts. More outdoor games were also rec­ommended for prisoners.

In response to all the recommendations, Home Minister Minjur Dorji said that, although there was no separate budget allocation for jails, all the problems were addressed in the Prison Act and they will be solved.

Dorji further said that many more activities like distance education and vo­cational activities were being planned for prisoners. Some MPs expressed their concern over prisoners being made to work and punished. They submitted that the com­mittee has to look into the matter.