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Arunachal: CM lays foundation stone of ‘Central Jail-turned-Correctional Centre’ at Lower Sher

LOWER SHER-  Chief Minister Pema Khandu, in presence of Home Minister Bamang Felix, today laid the foundation stone of the state’s first ‘Central Jail-turned-Correctional Centre’ at Lower Sher near Kimin in Papum Pare district.

“There is a pressing need to humanize prisons and prisoners, and for a societal and administrative change in attitude towards prisoners, both convicts and under trials. With this approach in mind, Arunachal Pradesh’s first Central Jail will be renamed as a Correctional Centre, where we will ensure every effort is made to reform prisoners and provide them with the skills and opportunities required for their meaningful rehabilitation as productive and participative members of society,” Khandu said addressing a public meeting after the ceremony.

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He assured that the ‘Central Jail’ written on the foundation stone will be changed to ‘Correctional Centre’. This, he said, is the state government’s commitment towards transforming the prison system from a punitive to reformative approach, with the aim of ensuring prisoners becoming integral members of society, post their release.

Khandu said that Arunachal records one of India’s lowest rates of crimes against women and children.

“In 2021, chargesheets in Arunachal have been filed in 87.09% arrests. Both these are a testament to our Government’s policies and approach towards speedy and scientific investigations and filing of chargesheets in time to ensure that no guilty is let free and that no innocent suffers needlessly,” he informed and assured the government’s focus is on upholding the finest tenets of the criminal justice system, keeping in mind the rights of both victims and the accused, and the maintenance of law and order.

Asserting that for far too long, prisoners have been treated as a burden on society, he said, “We will now move further away from this de-humanizing notion. While ensuring the dignity of every prisoner, the Government is making efforts to educate prisoners, involve them in skill development activities and link them to employment enhancement opportunities. This will ensure higher earnings for prisoners, as well as work to lead them towards gainful employment and away from crime after their release.”

Khandu revealed that in order to facilitate continuation of education of inmates, the state government has collaborated with Rajiv Gandhi University, Doimukh to provide the same through distance education.

“I am happy to know that presently two inmates have applied for post graduate courses while three are starting their graduate level courses,” he said.

The Government, Khandu informed, is also working towards providing necessary medical assistance to inmates, and provide treatment to chronic medical conditions, such as TB and malnourishment, afflicting them.

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“Today, on laying the foundation of Arunachal Pradesh’s first Correctional Centre, I appeal to the society at large to aid in prisoners, post their release, in their integration as resource centres and assets to society,” he urged.

Khandu heaped praises on the local residents for donating about 98 hac of land for the project. In return, he assured that all public requests including mini secretariate, health units, roads, flood protection works, etc will be fulfilled in a phased manner.

While disclosing that the new Correctional Centre will begin with housing 500 male and 100 female inmates despite its capacity to house 1000 inmates, Khandu wished that it remains unoccupied most of the time.

“Yes, we have laid the foundation for a correctional centre for 1000 inmates, the largest in the state, but I pray that it remains empty,” he said.

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