Centre to launch special scheme to provide financial support to poor prisoners: Home Ministry

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New Delhi, Apr 7: The Centre on Friday said that it has decided to launch a special scheme 'Support for Poor Prisoners' to provide financial support to poor people languishing in jails and are unable to afford the penalty or the bail amount.

"It envisages provision of required financial support to poor persons who are in prisons and unable to afford the penalty or the bail amount," the Home Ministry said in an official release adding that this will enable poor prisoners, the majority of whom belong to socially disadvantaged or marginalized groups with lower education and income level, to get out of prison. The broad contours of the scheme have been finalised in consultation with concerned stakeholders under which the Centre will provide financial support to states in order to extend relief to those poor prisoners who are unable to avail bail or get released from prisons due to non-payment of fines, on account of financial constraints.

"To further strengthen the process, technology-driven solutions will be put in place to ensure that benefits reach the poor prisoners; reinforcing the E-prisons platform; strengthening of District Legal Services Authority and sensitization and capacity building of stakeholders to ensure that quality legal aid is made available to needy poor prisoners, etc," it further said.

Prisons are an important part of the Criminal Justice System and play a significant role in upholding the rule of law.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has been sharing important guidelines with state governments through various advisories issued from time to time.

MHA has also been providing financial support to the state governments for enhancing and modernizing the security infrastructure in prisons.

"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and guidance of Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah the Ministry of Home Affairs has been taking various steps to address the issue of undertrials in prisons from time to time," the ministry's statement said and further added that these include insertion of Section 436A in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), insertion of a new chapter XXIA 'Plea Bargaining' in the CrPC etc. Free legal aid is being provided to poor prisoners through Legal Services Authority at various levels.

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