Government to strictly enforce provisions related to open prision

Kathmandu, July 30

Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to strictly implement provisions related to open prison like engaging jailbirds in community service, releasing them on parole and providing them employment opportunity as stipulated by the Criminal Offence, Punishment, Determination and Implementation Act-2017.

The MoHA took the decision after the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the House of Representatives expressed serious concern about non-implementation of existing law with regard to proper management of jailbird correctional sentence. According to the act, an offender, who has been sentenced to maximum six months in prison, may be ordered to perform community service instead of serving the jail sentence, depending on the nature and gravity of the offence, his/her age, conduct, circumstance of the offence and modus operandi of the crime.

Concerned court is the final authority to decide who should be engaged in community service.

It requires the court to take the consent of the offender before ordering him/her to do community service. The act states that community service is unpaid work to be done by an offender for a civic or non-profit organisation like hospital, oldage-home, orphanage, public or community school and institution working to protect the environment.

While ordering an offender to perform community service, the court will have to fix the hours s/he should work on a daily basis, while prescribing its terms and conditions. If the offender performs community service for the period fixed by the court under the prescribed terms and conditions, s/he will be deemed to have done his time in jail. Probation or parole officer designated by the probation or parole board will monitor and supervise his/her service during the period. In case of failure to perform community service as ordered by the court, the concerned offender will be sent back to the prison.

An under-secretary at MoHA said the government would implement new concepts of ‘open prison’ and ‘rehabilitation house’ to ease pressure of jailbirds in already crowded prisons.

An open prison is a penal establishment where prisoners, who have served at least twothird of their jail term and have demonstrated good conduct, are trusted to do their time with minimal supervision, on the recommendation of the concerned jailer and with the order of the district judge. This provision allows the concerned persons to go out of the jail and work in places and areas specified by the government. Any offender, who has been sentenced to more than one year in prison and already served one-third of the sentence with good conduct, may be released on parole.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 31, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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