Kohima, 24 June (MTNews): In a bid to address the rising cases of deliberate self-harm and suicide attempts by prisoners in judicial custody, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a crucial advisory to the Centre, states, and Union Territories administrations. The advisory aims to mitigate such incidents and ensure the safety and well-being of prisoners.
Highlighting its concerns, the NHRC noted that a significant number of unnatural deaths among prisoners occur due to suicide. Therefore, the Commission has emphasized the urgent need to create an environment within correctional facilities that discourages self-harm and suicide attempts.
One of the key recommendations put forth by the NHRC is the maintenance of prisoner barracks and toilets, as these areas are often utilized for suicide attempts. The advisory insists that objects which can be used for hanging should be removed, ensuring a safe environment for all inmates.
Moreover, the NHRC has advised regular checks and vigilant monitoring of bed sheets and blankets provided to prisoners. This measure aims to prevent the creation of makeshift ropes that can be used in suicide attempts. By implementing such preventive measures, the NHRC hopes to curtail the availability of tools for self-harm.
Recognizing the existing staff shortages within the prison system, the Commission has stressed the urgent need to fill vacancies, particularly those for Prison Welfare Officers, Probation Officers, Psychologists, and Medical Staff. These professionals play a crucial role in providing mental health support and intervention to prisoners, ultimately reducing the likelihood of self-harm.
To ensure the implementation of its recommendations, the NHRC has communicated its concerns to all Chief Secretaries of States, Administrators of Union Territories, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and all Directors General of Prisons. The Commission has requested that an action taken report be submitted within three months, outlining the progress made in addressing the issue.