Prison Deptt officials face stagnation as Police officers head most jails

Jammu, June 20: Majority of prisons in Jammu and Kashmir are being managed by the Police officers as Superintendent Jails, becoming a cause of concern for the officials of the Prison Department as they face stagnation in their careers.

This situation has emerged in absence of regular promotions and irregular recruitment process for various posts including gazetted as well as non-gazetted in Jammu and Kashmir Prisons Department.

A high-ranking officer told Greater Kashmir that majority of prisons in J&K were being headed by the Police officers (DySPs) as Superintendent Jails due to which it looks like prisons have been converted into police stations.

“The last recruitment for the post of Superintendent Jail took place in 2016. Thereafter, no recruitment process was followed on a regular basis, leaving the Prisons Department to struggle with fewer officers and other staff members,” the officer said.

The department is being managed with adhocism by importing officials from the Police department, he said.

Chanchal Singh, who retired as Senior Superintendent, Prisons Department,

said, “In higher level posts, the post of Senior Superintendents (Grade-I), Superintendent (Grade-II) and several other posts are also vacant in the department, which are mostly being filled-up by the officers from the Police Department.”

The post of Inspector General of Prisons (correctional service) is still vacant.

He said that in 1998, the last recruitment was conducted for the post of wardens.

Thereafter, no recruitment was carried out.

He said he had filed a writ petition in the J&K High Court in 1992 against the posting of Police officials as Superintendent Jails in most of the prisons.

In his judgment, Justice R P Sethi had ordered immediate removal of Police officers from the posts of Prisons Department and in their places, deserving officials of Prisons Department were ordered to be posted. At that time, Chanchal Singh was the senior most Deputy Superintendent.

"Within the next two days all the Police officers were reverted to the Police department and the Prison Fepartment’s officials got their postings," he said. “The situation has not changed and no one is taking interest to conduct recruitment of all the vacant posts of the Prisons Department."

He said the Police officers and officials of the Prisons department had quite a different attitude in handling functioning of inmates and jails.

“The difference in handling prisons is that they (Police officers) consider them as lockups but we act as reformers,” a serving officer of the Prisons Department said. “Prisons are not the end, but we give a new life to the inmates in jails as reformers and this attitude makes a basic difference in Police officers and Prisons Department’s officials."

A senior officer said, “Most of our colleagues are in the same position as Superintendent Jail for the last two decades with no promotion."

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