Legislation

Karnataka Assembly passes Bill constituting prison development board

Published : September 18, 2021 16:21 IST

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra (right) introducing the Bill during the Legislative Assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on September 17. Photo: The Hindu Archives

The Karnataka Legislative Assembly passed the Karnataka Prison Development Board Bill on September 17 after a lengthy discussion on the conditions of prisoners in the State.

The Karnataka Legislative Assembly passed the Karnataka Prison Development Board Bill on September 17 after a lengthy discussion on the conditions of prisoners in the State. Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, while introducing the Bill, said that the Karnataka Prison Development Board (KPDB) aims at the development of prison industries, skill improvement among prisoners and prisoners’ welfare. All this, Jnanendra said, will ensure that the prisoners walk out as “productive individuals” at the end of their prison terms.

Said Jnanendra: “Prisoners in Punjab and Haryana manufacture and sell products worth Rs.600 crore. Through this, the prisoners also earn money. When they finish their jail term, it is possible for them to leave with some savings. Our State has land as well as the facilities for prisoners to earn money. The KPDB would ensure that schemes for this would be put in place.”

In the discussion that followed, Congress MLA U.T. Khader pointed out that the conditions of the prisons needed to be strictly monitored as criminals did not fear prisons because it was easy to access all kinds of comforts during their incarceration. Several other members from opposition parties such as Priyank Kharge, P.T. Parameshwar Naik, K.R. Ramesh Kumar, Tanveer Sait (all from the Congress), K.G. Bopaiah, Satish Reddy (from the Bharatiya Janata Party), Sa.Ra. Mahesh, K. Annadani and A.T. Ramaswamy (from the Janata Dal [Secular]) also added that strict action needed to be taken against prison staff for allowing illegal activities. Ramesh Kumar even pointed out that expensive alcohol was freely available in prisons.

In his intervention, Khader also said that the policy of demarcating prisoners along religious lines must be discontinued in Mangaluru Jail.

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