1.1   Introduction

A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. A prison system is the organizational arrangement of the provision and operation of prisons. Imprisonment is a penalty which is given by the state for committing any crime. Prisons play a vital role in administration of criminal justice system by assisting the courts in the due execution of the sentences awarded by them. The word ‘Prison’ the synonym of the word ‘Jail’ or ‘Penitentiary’ that has been defined as place properly arranged and equipped for reception of persons who by legal process are committed to it for safe custody while awaiting trial or for punishment. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the government for the commission of a crime. Other terms used are penitentiary, correctional facility, remand centre, detention centre, and gaol or jail .The convicted or accused persons who are remained in prison are human being. So they have some rights which cannot be derogated. By ensuring the humane behavior the prisoner can be terminated to agood citizen. But prest condition are very unfavorable for the proper treatment of the prisoner. The prison administration system is relatively weak in Bangladesh. Prison is administered by the state and is used to house convicted criminals for periods of much longer duration. Prison is a part of a larger penal system which includes other aspects of criminal justice such as courts, law enforcement, and crime labs.

The administration and management of the prisons in Bangladesh is carried out according to the rules and Acts as enumerated in volumes 1 and 2 of the Jail Code, formulated by colonial rulers during the 19th century. These colonial rules and Acts include the Prisons Act IX of 1894, as amended, relating to the management and training of prisoners; the Civil Procedure Code relating to the management of civil prisoners; and Act XLV of 1860, as amended, of the Penal Code.


Origin and Historical Development of Prison System:

2.1 Origin

A prison (from old French prisoun), also known as gaol or jail, is a place in which people are physically confined and usually deprived of a range of personal freedoms. The first occasion on which we read of a prison is in the history of Joseph in Egypt. Then Potiphar, “Joseph’s master, took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound”. The Heb. word here used (sohar) means properly a round tower or fortress. It seems to have been a part of Potiphar’s house, a place in which state prisoners were kept. The Mosaic law made no provision for imprisonment as a punishment. In the wilderness two persons were “put in ward”, but it was only till the mind of God concerning them should be ascertained. Prisons and prisoners are mentioned in the book of Psalms. Samson was confined in a Philistine prison. In the subsequent history of Israel frequent references are made to prisons. Prisons seem to have been common in New Testament times. The apostles were put into the “common prison” at the instance of the Jewish council and at Philippi Paul and Silas were thrust into the “inner prison”.

The organized and modern concept of prison in the Indian subcontinent has been contribution of the British Government. Throughout the Muslim period, there was no regular prisons. Only old forts  and castles were used as prisions.Until the late 18th  century, prisons were used mainly for the confinement of debtors who could not meet their obligations.

2.2   Historical Development of Prison System

2.2.1   Prison system in sixteen and Seventeenth century:

Prison tended to be a place where people were held before their trial or while awaiting punishment .Sanctions for criminal behavior tended to be public events which were designed to shame the person  and deter others; these included the ducking stool, the pillory ,whipping, branding and the stocks. At the time the sentence for many other offences was was very rarely used as a punishment in its own right . Men and women,boys and girls,debtors and murderers were all held together in local prisons.Evidence suggests that  the prisons of this period were badly maintained and often controlled by negligent prison wardens. Many people died of diseases like gaol fever, which was a form of typus. “There was no separate arrangement for men and women” The most important innovation of this period  was then building of the petotype type house of correction,the London Bridewell.By the end of the 17th century they were absorbed into the prison system under the control of the local Justice of the peach.

2.2.2 Prison in Eighteenth Century

Although the 18th century has been characterised as the era of the ‘Bloody Code’ there was growing opposition to the death penalty for all but the most serious crimes. Such severe punishment was counter-productive, as jurors were refusing to find thieves guilty of offences which would lead to their execution.  Transportation was curtailed at the end of the 18th century. Other sanctions therefore had to be found. The two prominent alternatives were hard labour, and for those unable to do this, the house of correction. This practice lead to the use of prison hulks from 1776 until their phasing out in 1857 . Prison hulks were ships which were anchored in the Thames, and at Portsmouth and Plymouth. Those sent to them were employed in hard labour during the day and then loaded, in chains, onto the ship at night. The appalling conditions on the hulks, especially the lack of control and poor physical conditions, eventually led to the end of this practice. But the use of prison hulks did much to persuade public opinion that incarceration, with hard labour, was a viable penalty for crime .

2.2.3 Prison in Nineteenth Century

Some remarkable changes were further made in the prison administration in the later half  of the 19th century. The first half of the 19th century represented a watershed in the history of state punishment. Capital punishment was now regarded as an inappropriate sanction for many crimes. The shaming sanctions, like the stocks, were regarded as outdated. By mid-century, imprisonment had replaced capital punishment for most serious offences – except for that of murder. Pentonville was originally designed to hold 520 prisoners, each held in a cell measuring 13 feet long, 7 feet wide and 9 feet high. Pentonville operated the separate system, which was basically solitary confinement. In the next 6 years, 54 new prisons were built using this template “In order to ease the pressure on British prisons, prisoners were released on ‘Ticket on Leave’ on condition that they would not resort to criminality”  In 1877 prisons were brought under the control of the Prison Commission. For the first time even local prisons were controlled centrally.In 1894,Gladstone committee recommended the abolition of unproductive labour in prison” . The Prison Act 1898 reasserted reformation as the main role of prison regimes. This Act can be seen to set the penal-welfare context which underlies today’s prison policy. It led to a dilution of the separate system, the abolition of hard labour, and established the idea that prison labour should be productive, not least for the prisoners, who should be able to earn their livelihood on release.

2.2.4 Prison in Twenty Century

In the first half of the twenty century, some significant steps were taken in the prison system. The concept of cruel and degrading treatment and punishment were decreased as a remarkable number. The humanitarian conduct to prisoners was upheld. The development of the prison system continues.  According to the recommendation of the Gladstone committee the borstal system was introduced in the Prevention of Crime Act 1908 . Borstal training involved a regime based on hard physical work, technical and educational instruction and a strong moral atmosphere. A young person in borstal would work through a series of grades, based on privileges, until release. In 1933, the first open prison was built at New Hall Camp near Wakefield. The theory behind the open prison is summed up in the words of one penal reformer, Sir Alex Paterson: “You cannot train a man for freedom under conditions of captivity”. “Sir Lionel Fox advocated setting up of open prisons and as a result  of his pertinent efforts, the number of such open institutions was raised from one in 1942 to thirteen”   The Criminal Justice Act 1948 abolished penal servitude, hard labour and flogging. It also presented a comprehensive system for the punishment and treatment of offenders. Prison was still at the centre of the system, but the institutions took many different forms including remand centers, detention centers and borstal institutions.

2.2.5 Prison in Twenty-First Century

The prison system of this time in the world is in a slandered form. The International rules are adopted by the countries for the humanitarian punishment for prisoners and every country has enacted their national statues in this regards. Although it is not possible to change their previous rules at a time. But the taken steps by the individual states for reformation of prison system are remarkable. There are currently 139 prisons holding men, women and children in England and Wales. The supremacy of imprisonment as a way of dealing with offending behavior shows no signs of abating. Further new prisons are being planned. These like all new prisons will be part of the PFI programmes and managed by the private sector. There are currently 11 privately managed prisons; however two prisons which began life managed by the private sector have been brought back into public management. The Declaration of Independence cited a list of abuses related to the prisoner trade, including complaints that the Crown had obstructed justice, sent swarms of officers to harass the people, deprived many of the benefits of trial by jury, transported persons beyond the seas for pretended offenses, and committed other offenses. However, Thomas Jefferson’s clause protesting slavery was deleted. The new United States struggled to determine what to do with its penal and slavery apparatus. Many British prisons were converted to American ones and new penal codes were implemented. Some states such as Pennsylvania and New York provided for the gradual emancipation of their slaves at the same time they adopted new criminal codes providing for the use of sentences of imprisonment as a punishment.

The Civil War had profoundly altered America’s system and rationale for imprisonment. Millions of slaves had been let loose, chattel slavery was ended, and penal servitude expanded. Thousands of inmates had perished in deadly prison camps kept by their own countrymen. Many more were badly scarred by what they had experienced. Many Americans increasingly recognized that the previous reformed. The prison camps of the Civil War proved to be incredibly lethal. According to official statistics compiled at the end of the war, the North held a total of 220,000 Confederates and the South held 126,000 Unionists Estimates placed the number of prison dead at 30,212 for the Confederate prisons and 26,774 in the Union prisons . To put matters in perspective, roughly two and a half times. Until 1963, the incidence of reported crime as measured by official crime statistics actually remained relatively constant. But then serious crime began to experience an upsurge. The nation’s rate of incarceration also remained relatively stable until 1974, when it also began to shoot up. The total number of adults in prison custody on a census day in 1972 showed a rate of incarceration.

Jails, in the modern sense, are products of the last century. It is a legacy of British rule. E C wines observe that, the prison system in India Empire, like the British rule itself in that country , has grown up by degrees, until, as there empire was consolidated and order introduced into all department of the Government , the treatment of criminal took its place among the recognized branches of the judicial administration . H S stretchy made a survey of jail accommodation throughout the territories of the East India Company in 1805. Before 1835 there were 43 civil, 75 criminal and 68 mixed jails in the territories under the company

Lord McCauley commission report, 1836, public attention was not strongly drown to prisons. The number of Thomas Richardson, the Magistrate of 24 pagans   and the superintendent of the jail, at the presidency of Calcutta, was the moving case of public attention to the jail problem.  About this incident, E C wines wrote, “the murder of the Governor of the most important person of India was the immediate moving cause of the broad and exhaustive enquire which was at once set on foot . The evidence collected shows that prison discipline had at that time only reached the stage of development in which considerable attention was given to the physical condition of the inmates of the prisons. This report was prepared by Lord McCauley, than law member of supreme council of India. In this report Lord McCauley expressed the idea that the best criminal code can be of very little use to a community unless there be good machinery   for the infliction of punishment.

2.3 Prison in Sub-continent

2.3.1 The prison discipline committee, 1836

Lord William Bentick appointed the second committee on January 2, 1836.The Prison enquiry committee appointed by the Government of Indiain 1836 recommended for the abolition of the practice of prisoners working on roads.  Under the chairmanship of H Shakespeare, a member of Governor General’s council. This committee is known as the prison discipline committee. They submitted a report in 1838 to Lord Auckland. The major observation were :

  • The rampant corruption in the establishment
  • Laxity of discipline
  • The system of employing prisoners on extra moral labor. The committee recommended increased rigorous treatments and rejected  all notions of reforming criminals through moral and religions teaching , education or any system of rewards for good conduct. First inspector general of prisons was appointed in India in 1844, for the north west province

2.3.2 The 2nd Jail Enquiry Committee &Commission of jail management and discipline (1862-1864):

A second committee was appointed in 1864 re reconsider the whole question addressed by the first committee. Sir Jhon Lawrence’s examination of the condition of the jails in India lades Lord Dalhousie to appoint this commission of jail management discipline.  This commission made specific recommendation regarding the accommodation, improvement diet , clothing , bedding, medical care of the prisoner s and the appointment of medical officers in jails .

2.3.3 The 3rd Jail Enquiry Committee and Calcutta Conference:

A  conference of experts was convened in 1877 al Calcutta in inquire into prison administration. The remedy proposed by the conference of 1877 was the enactment of a new prison law , which could secure uniformity of system at least on such basic issues as the reckoning   of the terms of sentence .Thereafter, certain recommendations were also made by the 3rd bjail enquiry committee in 1877 followed by further suggestions in 1889 and 1892.

2.3.4 The 4th jail commission 1888:

In 1888, the 4th jail commission was appointed by Lord Duferin to inquire into the facts of prison. This commission reviewed the earlier reports (Reports of 1836, 1864 and 1877) and made an exhaustive inquiry into all matters connected with jail administration

2.3.5      The Acts 1894 based on the 1888:

Jail commission’s report, a consolidated prison bill was prepared. This bill was later passed. Thus came into the prison s Act, 1894 which is the existing law governing the management and administration of prisons in Indian subcontinent.The Penal policy as reflected through the act continued to be far from reformative and contemporary.The English thinking of deterrence was the basis of the Act

2.3.6  The India jail committee 1919-20:

The Indian Jails reform Committee which was appointed to suggest measures for prison reforms was headed by Sir Alexender Cardew.The problems of prison management and administration continued. The Indian jail committee 1919-20 made the 1st comprehensible study of this problems in the 20th century. This committee report was treated as a turning point of the prison reforms the the country . for the 1st time in the history of prisons , “ reformation” and “rehabilitation” of offenders were identified as the objectives of prison  administration . It recommended utilization of prison inmates in productive work so as to bring about their reformation. It also emphasized the need for after-care programme for the released prisoners for their rehabilitation

 2.4 Pakistan period :

In the year of 1956 than Government of Pakistan formed a reformed committee headed by Deputy Commissioner S.Rahmatullah. The committee made a large number of recommendations. Classifying prisoners into different  categories, reconstructing the service system of jail authority, improving the living standard of inmates etc.were the administrative reform proposed . moreover commission suggested for the introduction of parole and probation services and establishment of training institute for the prison  personnel.

2.5 Bangladesh Period:

Prisons are managed under the Prison Act of 1894, its accompanying Rules, and a range of internally issued circulars, notices and orders which together form the Jail Code of 1920. Prisons were earlier treated as punitive centers of confinement and they have remained as such in Bangladesh. Little effort has been made by governments to change these into rehabilitative and correctional institutions. Human rights of the prisoners, unfortunately, have never been a serious concern for the public either. Human rights and legal aid organizations have drawn attention to conditions in prisons which amount to inhuman and degrading treatment and can be a source of violation of a person’s right to life and personal integrity. They have also pointed out that prisons as they currently operate offer little scope for correction and reintegration into society.

The laws governing prisons, in Bangladesh namely, the Prison Act of 1894, its accompanying Rules, and a range of internally issued circulars, notices and orders which together form the Jail Code of 1920, the Penal Code 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, the Lunacy Act 1974 and the Children’s Act 1974 directly contravene the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) or the Standard Minimum Rules.


Definition and Types of Prison & Prisoners

3.1 Definition of Prison:

Prison is a place used for confinement of convicted criminals. Confinement in prison, also known as a penitentiary or correctional facility, is the punishment that courts most commonly impose for serious crimes, such as felonies. For lesser crimes, courts usually impose short-term incarceration in a jail, detention center, or similar facility. “Prisonisation symbolizes a system of punishment and also a sort of institutional placement of under trials and suspects during the period of trial”

Confining criminals for long periods of time as the primary form of punishment is a relatively new concept. Throughout history, various countries have imprisoned criminal offenders, but imprisonment was usually reserved for pre-trial detention or punishment of petty criminals with a short term of confinement. A prison, jail, or gaol(other commonly used terms are: penitentiary, correctional facility, remand centre, and detention centre). In some legal systems some of these terms have distinct meanings. is a facility in which individuals are forcibly confined and denied a variety of freedoms under the authority of the state as a form of punishment. The most common use of prisons is as part of an organized governmental justice system, in which individuals officially charged with or convicted of crimes are confined to a jail or prison until they are either brought to trial to determine their guilt or complete the period of incarceration they were sentenced to after being found guilty at their trial. Outside of their use for punishing civil crimes, authoritarian regimes also frequently use prisons and jails as tools of political repression to punish political crimes, often without trial or other legal due process; this use is illegal under most forms of international law governing fair administration of justice. In times of war or conflict, prisoners of war may also be detained in military prisons or prisoner of war camps, and large groups of civilians might be imprisoned in internment camps.

“prison means any jail or place used permanently or temporarily under the general or special orders of Government for the detention of prisoners, and includes all lands and buildings appurtenant thereto, but does not include (a) any place for the confinement of prisoners who are exclusively in the custody of the police; (b) any place specially appointed by the Government under section 541 of the  Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 or

(c) any place which has been declared by the Government, by general or special order, to be a subsidiary jail”  In some legal systems some of these terms have distinct meanings.

3.1.1 The Jail Code-1894 

Jail Code consists of the provisions of Prisons Act 1894, Prisoners Act 1900, Identification of Prisoners Act 1920, Rules made under Section 59 of the Prisons Act 1894 and Rules made under Section 60(a) of the said Act of 1894 for the superintendence and management of jails and subsidiary jails respectively.

3.1.2 The Prisons Act 1894:

This Act defines prison as any jail or place used permanently or temporarily for the detention of prisoners under the general or special orders of the government. Prisoners are admitted to, removed and discharged from the prison, disciplined and punished, employed, medically treated and provided with food, clothing and bedding under the provisions of this Act.

3.1.3 The Prisoners Act 1900:

Under the Prisoners Act 1900, prison includes any place declared by the government by general or special order as a subsidiary jail. This Act empowers an officer in charge of prison to receive and detain any person duly committed to his custody by any court in the prison until such person is discharged or removed there from in due course of law. A prisoner may be moved from one prison to another under order of the government or Inspector General of Prisons.

3.2 Types of Prisons

The prisons in Bangladesh can be divided into two major types :-

  1. Central Prison and
  2. District Prison.

3.2.1 Central Prison:

Central prisons are for the confinement of prisoners under trail, administrative detainees and convicted prisoners sentenced to a term of imprisonment for life and death sentence. There are twelve such central jails.

3.2.2 District Prison:

District prisons, located at the headquarters of the district, are used for the confinement of all categories of prisoners, except those convicted prisoners whose sentence exceeds 5 years. There are 55 District jails, which could be called “medium security prisons”. ‘District jails also hold long term convicted following the order of the higher authority.

3.2.3 Special types of prison:

There are some special types of prison of which the following are most common.

  1. Juvenile prison:

Prisons for juveniles (people under 17 or 18, depending on the jurisdiction) are known as young offender facilities or similar designation and hold minors who have been remanded into custody or serving sentence. It is no coincidence that the modern youth justice system emerged at the middle of the nineteenth century, at the same time as ‘adolescence’ and ‘juvenile delinquency’ was ‘discovered’. The deep ambivalence of the Victorians towards children was played out in the various discourses surrounding childhood – children were simultaneously idealized, worshipped and protected as well as being feared, exploited and regulated  .During this period, many social reformers and philanthropists directed their energies towards ‘saving’ and ‘protecting’, demanding that young people should be removed from the ‘adult’ prison population and placed in separate institutions . The Youthful Offenders Act 1854 provided the basis of the reformatories for the ‘dangerous classes’, and legislation three years later established ‘industrial schools’ for the ‘perishing classes’.

  1. Military prison:

Prisons have formed part of military systems since the French Revolution. France set up its system in 1796 . They were modernized in 1852, They are used variously to house prisoners of war, unlawful combatants, those whose freedom is deemed a national security risk by military or civilian authorities, and members of the military found guilty of a serious crime. Military prisons in the United States have also been converted to civilian prisons, to include Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz was formerly a military prison for soldiers during the American Civil War.

  1. Prisoner of war camps:

In the American Revolution, British prisoners held by the U.S. were assigned to local farmers as laborers. The British kept American prisoners captured at sea in broken down ship hulks. In the Napoleonic wars, the broken down hulks were still in use for naval prisoners. By 1900 the legal framework of the Geneva and Hague Convention provided considerable protection. In the First World War, millions of prisoners were held on both sides, with no major atrocities throughout Europe. Officers received privileged treatment. There was an increase in the use of forced labor

  1. Political prisoner:

Certain countries maintain or have in the past had a system of political prisons: the gulags associated with Stalinism in the Soviet Union are perhaps the best known. The condition of political prisoners in Bangladesh is not good at all. If the opposition party claims one as political prisoner government reject it. For example in 2003 The government of Bangladesh stated that it held no political prisoners; however, opposition parties and human rights monitors claimed the government arrested many political activists and convicted them on unfounded criminal charges NGOs did not have access to prisoners. On April 30, a Dhaka court granted bail to and released Salah Uddin Shoaib Chaudhury, who was detained at the airport for his attempted 2003 travel to Israel .

  1. Open Prison

The United Nations Congress on Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders held in Geneva in 1955,however made an attempt to define an open prison  thus:

“An open institution is characterized by the absence of material and physical precautions against escape such as walls, locks, bars and armed-guards etc. and by a system based on self-discipline and inmates sense of responsibility towards the group in which he lives” .

  1. Psychiatric hospital:

Some psychiatric facilities have characteristics of prisons, particularly when confining patients who have committed a crime and are considered dangerous. In addition, many prisons have psychiatric units dedicated to housing offenders diagnosed with a wide variety of mental disorders.

3.3 Types of Prisoners:

During the early period of prison system the object of punishment was purely punitive in nature. There was no need to classify the prisoners. There was a singular system of treatment for criminals. “The sole object of prisonisation in those days was to subject the inmates to maximum torture and pain and therefore there was no need to classify them. Now the criminals are classified in two broad categories .These are:

3.3.1 Hardened Criminal prisoners

Hardened Criminal prisoners who are fit for treatment in a conventional prison.

3.3.2 Casual  Criminal Prisoners

Casual  Criminal Prisoners who are fit for treatment in a medium-custody prison or even fit to be sent to a reformatory or realeased on probation.

According to The Prison Act 1894,there are three types of prisoners  They are

3.3.3 Criminal Prisoner

“criminal prisoner” means any prisoner duly committed to custody under the writ, warrant or order of any Court or authority exercising criminal jurisdiction, or by order of a Court-martial:

3.3.4 Convicted Criminal Prisoner

“convicted criminal prisoner” means any criminal prisoner under sentence of a Court or Court-martial, and includes a person detained in prison under the provisions of Chapter VIII of the  Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 or under the  Prisoners Act, 1900.

3.3.5 Civil Prisoner

civil prisoner means any prisoner who is not a criminal prisoner. “Civil prisoners may, with the Superintendent’s permission, work and follow any trade or profession. Civil prisoners finding their own implements, and not maintained at the expense of the prison, shall be allowed to receive the whole of their earnings; but the earnings of such as are furnished with implements or are maintained at the expense of the prison shall be subject to a deduction, to be determined by the Superintendent, for the use of implements and the cost of maintenance”


4.1  The objectives of Imprisonment

People are sent, usual reasons are given for retribution or deterrence or reformation. There is interestingly no strong evidence that incarcerating people in the prison make them more law abiding or better citizens. In 1990 a white paper was published by the government of U.K. The White paper stated that imprisonment can be an expensive way of making bad people worse.  If any reform to be happened to an individual, it cannot be brought about by keeping that person within the bars of the prison, rather by keeping them in the open society.

The arguments put forward in favors of deterrent value of imprisonment are not strong. Many people commit crime because of the influence of drugs or alcohol and deterrent principle is not applicable to them. The truth is that high or low rate of imprisonment has little impact on the crime level of any community. Increase or decrease in the number of individuals punished does not influence the frequency of crime in any society. Sending more people has every marginal influence on the crime rate of any society. This reality is common in almost all the countries. If incarcerating people had any impact on the whole world. More than one and a half million peoples are put behind the high walls of prison in USA and 550 people per 1,00,000 of the population are prisoners, which is far in excess of any other country .

Crime prevention is not something which involves only criminal justice system. We need to ponder over the matter from the very root of it. If people have some abode to live, a means of livelihood, and have personal support system, they are less likely to commit crime. We, therefore, are left with the conclusion that people are sent to prison because court has no alternative than to deprive them of their freedom of movement.


The prevailing Prison system in the world There are some systems of prison prevailing in the world such as

5.1  The American Prison System:

During the medieval period imprisonment was used in rare cases. Punishment inside the prison was brutal an inhumane. The inside the prison. But in 1775 Philadelphia prison was remodeled on a new pattern. The prisoners were categorized into two main classes such as incorrigible or hardened criminals and corrigible criminals. Towards the end of 18th century the condition of Philadelphia prison was degraded because of overcrowding and maladministration. On that time the life inside prison was very hard, unbearable and painful. Gradually public raised their voice against such cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment. As a result a chartered was passed in 1862 which is known as Penn’s Charter against the heinous process or method of punishment. The object of this Charter was to put an end to brutal methods of punishment on humanitarian grounds and bring out reforms in prison administration. The Charter inter alia contained that :-

     The practice of releasing prisoners on bail should be introduced.

     Compensation should be allowed to persons who were wrongfully imprisoned.

     Prisoners should be allowed the choice of their food and lodging to certain extent.

     The system of ‘pillory’ punishing the offender in public places should be abolished.

5.2  The Pennsylvania System:

In 1790 the Pennsylvania System was first came out into function in the Walnut Street prison in Philadelphia. The prisoners were incarcerated in isolated cells during day and nights which was aimed at bringing about prompt reformation of the prisoners as it was considered to have extreme effect of deterrent. On that time while carrying prisoners from one place to another their faces were covered by hoods so they could not see each other. Only some classified people were permitted to visit the prisoners but not the relatives of the prisoners. The inmates were subject to prayers appropriate discourses so that they behaved themselves with greatest propriety and decorum. Finally this prison fell into disuse by later half of the nineteenth century and was finally abandoned.

5.3  The Auburn System:

A new prison was constructed at Auburn in New York in 1818-19 in line with the model of Pennsylvania System. “The abandonment of transportation as an alternative punishment, the problem of overcrowding in prisons assumed serious dimensions and so from 1853 the system of ‘ticket of leave’ was resorted for tackling the problem of overcrowding”  The prisoner under this system worked in shops in an environment of complete silence. Hardened criminals were initially brought in this prison and subjected to solitary confinement. The main characteristics of this system lay in forced silence and separation at night but congregate in shops during day time. The prisoners were not permitted to other prisoners when they doing their work or during lunch supper time. Those who violated this rule they were punished.

5.4  The Elmira Reformatory:

The authorities tried to reform the prisoners through religious sermons both under Pennsylvania as well as Auburn systems till 1870.In New York, The Elmira Reformatory was established which provides for indeterminate sentence, parole and probation. American prison history experienced an era of reformation during next thirty years. Under this system the prisoners were classified as hardened criminals and incorrigible. During early 20th century the prisons were used as industries to train inmates for skilled work. This clearly served two purposes,

     Firstly, it helped in the rehabilitation of prisoners

     Secondly, work in prisons kept inmates engaged during their stay in prison with the result they were mentally and physically fit to return as a useful member of society after their release.

It was around 1930 that individualization of prisoners became the object of punishment and hence the criminals were graded not according their individual needs and chances of rehabilitation. America entered into the reformative era regarding to prison system by opening of Reception Centre at Illions in 1933.The cells in this prison were airy, well ventilated and equipped with adequate arrangement of lights. The conditions of  health and sanitation were considerably improve and inmates were provided facilities for reading, writing and schooling. The sentence of solitary confinement was completely abolished.


Open Prisons: Bangladesh & other countries

6.1 Origin of Open Prison:

The object of Prisonisation is to eliminate criminals from society and reform and rehabilitate the offenders through an institutional treatment. We must consider after care service for released prisoner very strongly. It will help such person to rehabilitate in society. “As a part  of correctional service  it presupposes active help and guidance to the discharged prisoners through counseling and surveillance. The process has, therefore, been called ‘the released person convalescence” The system of parole as a corrective measure and rehabilitative process has now been expanded in the form of open jails and open air camps in recent years.

History of open jail in short

The concept of open prison is new one has changed the view of traditional prison system.In the late 19th century, a semi-open prison institution called the Witzwill establishment was set up in Switzerland. Open prisons in modern sense were ,however, established, in UK in 1930’s  and in USA around 1940’s .

6.2 Definition of Open Prison

The United Nations Congress on Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders held in Geneva in 1955, however made an attempt to define an open prison  thus:

“An open institution is characterized by the absence of material and physical precautions against escape such as walls, locks, bars and armed-guards etc. and by a system based on self-discipline and inmates sense of responsibility towards the group in which he lives”.

6.3 Open Prison in USA

During the 19th century open air prisons were in existence in America in the name of prison farms. The convicts who were nearing the end of their sentence were generally transferred from conventional prison  to these open firms in forests as labourers.But it was not welcomed cordially by the prisoners, because the prisoners were treated as slaves. Then the system of open prison has changed and it enter into modern era. The greatest service done to prison community under the system of open air institution was to develop self reliance and self confidence among the prison inmates by resorting to minimum security measures.

6.4 Open Prison in Netherlands

In Netherlands,open prisons were established at Roermond, Hoorn and Warnsveld in 1957 , 1959 and 1962, respectively. These were meant to serve as a traditional place within the frame work  of pre-release treatment between the period of prisoners detention  in a closed institution and his return to free life The inmates of these open prisons are allowed to mingle freely with members of society while at work as also during leisure. The number of inmates in each of the institutions is limited to a maximum of twenty five so that their individual progress can be conveniently watched by competent supervisor.

6.5 Open Prison in France

France has an open prison institution in Casabianca and a semi open Institution Oermingen. The inmates in this institutions go for work as free workers without any supervision and they return to the prison every evening or during non working days.

6.6 Open Prison in India

One of the most remarkable problem in prison of India is overcrowding. But this scenario is varied from prison to prison. To solve such problem Indian penologist are searching the alternative of traditional prisonisation.It is the matter of concern of the penologist that the traditional prisonization cannot prevent the criminals from doing criminal work.Such prisonisation creats a lot of problems in prison.It has been observed by the Supreme Court othat overcrowding in prison is not constitutionally impermissible, there is no doubt that it contributes to a greater risk of disease,higher noise levels.Yet another baneful effect of overcrowding is that it does not permit segregation among hardened criminals and first offenders who are generally corrigibles.The result may be that hardened criminalmay spread their influence over others. So open air camps have been used as one of the best tools for rehabilitation of offenders in society.The first Indian open Air camps was established in 1954 at Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh.


Prisoners Rights & Human Rights

7.1 Prisoners Rights:

A convicted prisoner cannot claim his or her all fundamental rights like other persons. But prisoners have some rights which cannot be curtailed. Because the Bangladesh Constitution has laid some Article guarantying some rights as fundamental rights for all its citizens and  Bangladesh  is committed under the ICCPR, among others, to treat “all persons deprived of liberty with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person,” to segregate under trial prisoners from convicts and juveniles from adults and to bring prisoners as speedily as possible to trial. The High Court of Madhya Pradesh in S.P. Anand Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, “has dealt with the basic rights which are available to prisoners despite curtailment of their right to liberty.” But Bangladesh Government has failed to maintain the standard of ICCPR regarding prisoner’s rights. It is  not possible for Bangladesh to maintain all rules at a time because of our shortage of money. But we can ensure minimum standard. According to Mr. Karzon,“prison authorities in Bangladesh have failed to satisfy the Standard

Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners set by the United Nations. Food is generally

insufficient and of low quality. The water supply is inadequate and has to be secured from a

container located in the bathing area of prisoners outside their cells”

The UN Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners  requires states to observe the fundamental principles of security of life, health and personal integrity, non-discrimination in the treatment of prisoners, and to create conditions that allow for prisoners to adjust and integrate into normal community life .

“Prisoners are human beings. In most cases they are also citizens of this country, “subjects of the Queen ‘and ‘’electors’’ Under the Constitution. They should ,so far as the law can allow ,ordinarily have the same rights as all other persons before this Court. They  have lost their liberty whilst they are in prison.However,so far as I am concerned, they have not lost their human dignity or their right to equality before the law.’’

Prisoners’ rights are limited. For the most part, jail and prison inmates demand only a “minimal civilized measure of shelter.” Generally, courts follow three basic principles when deciding whether to recognize a particular right.

  1. First, an inmate necessarily gives up many rights and privileges enjoyed by the rest of society,
  2. Second, an inmate’s does not relinquish all constitutional rights upon placement in prison,
  3. Third, the constitutional retained by the prison inmate must be balanced against the security concerns of the prison. “Since the liberty of a prisoner is constitutionally curtailed due to his confinement, his interest in the limited liberty left to him becomes all the more substantial.”

The established rights of prison inmates include:

Freedom of speech and religion; Freedom from arbitrary punishment on the sole basis of beliefs, religion,or racial and ethnic origin; Freedom from constant physically restraints; essentials for personal hygiene and opportunity to wash; clean bedding; adequate clothing; adequate heating, cooling, ventilation and light; and adequate nutrition.

7.2 Prisoner’s Human Rights:

Article 10 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that

  1. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
  2. The penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and social rehabilitation. Juvenile offenders shall be segregated from adults and be accorded treatment appropriate to their age and legal status.

Prisoners are the members of our society. They are in confinement for the offences they have committed. Nevertheless they are entitled to enjoy the human rights as applicable for other people subject to some restrictions imposed by the law. The reasons for ensuring human rights of prisoners are-

     Human rights are inalienable and must apply to all human beings without exceptions.

     A prisoner should get human rights in order to learn how to respect the human rights of others.

     No person is criminal by birth. Crime is the reflection of the failure of society and by restoring human rights of prisoners the society corrects its own failure and ensures proper socialization of prisoners.

     Curtailment of liberty is a punishment. So a prisoner cannot be punished more by debarring him from human rights.

     Treatment of criminals is one of the tests of civilization of the country, so by maintain human rights of prisoners we can contribute to the positive development of civilization.

Persons in the detention retain all rights except those that have been lost as a specific consequence of deprivation of liberty.

The following rights must be ensured for the prisoners:

7.2.1 Maintaining Human Dignity:

The dignity of prisoners must be protected. It includes-

     From admission to discharge prisoners should be treated in a humane and dignified manner,

     Use of force must be restricted and physical and mental torture must be justified,

     Prisoners must be informed their rights and obligations and other relevant regulations,

     Standard for the accommodation, hygiene, clothing and bedding, food and exercise must be maintained.

7.2.2 Health Rights Of  Prisoners:

Health Rights Of Prisoners include-

Prisoners should be examined by medical officer at the very first day of his admission and prison authority should supply all necessary things for a prisoners advised by the medical officer ,Proper health care including specialist treatment should be provided on regular basis Medical personnel should be available and well trained, There must have proper treatment for the sick person.

7.2.3 Safety in Prisons:

prisoners must be a safe place to live in. For that purpose-

     Prisoners should be classified according to risk and  kept accordingly,

     Instruments of restraint shall never be applied as punishment

     there should be a balance of  physical, procedural and dynamic security;

     Prisoners should not be used in a disciplinary role for other prisoners.

7.2.4 Communication with Outside World:

Prison is a part of community and the inmates must not feel that they are isolated from others. For this purpose-

     Prisoners should be located in prisons close to their homes;

     Prisoners should have ample facility to communicate with the family members, friends and other members of the community;

     Prisoners should have access to books, newspaper, radio and television.

7.2.5 Complaints and Inspection:


     Should have access to an effective complaints procedure within the prison to higher authorities in the administration or to an independent body or court;

     Complaints should be handled with fairness, speed and sensitivity and without fear of reprisal

     Internal inspections of prisons should be a routine work;

     Prisons should open to public scrutiny by independent inspection teams.


National Statutes and International Rules regarding prisoners

 8.1 National Statutes:

The administration and management of prisons in Bangladesh is carried out according to the Rules and Acts as enumerated in volumes 1 and 2 of Jail Code, formulated by colonial rulers during the 19th century. The present system and practices of prison administration were established during the 200-year period of British domination, which ended in 1947. From 1947 to 1971, when Pakistan administered the country, no improvements were made, so that imprisonment today means punishment without training or social rehabilitation.

Government should modernize the present system; it must make the prison service more attractive to potential recruits by providing better pay and higher job status to prison personnel. Recruitment practices should be changed so that background checks are performed and only candidates with good social and academic backgrounds are accepted. In addition, candidates should be required to pass written psychological, sociological, and personality tests.

The origin of jail administration based on a comprehensive law dates back to 1864, When the government of Bengal framed a detailed jail code. Until 1864, jail administration was carried out by means of sporadically issued circular letters and general orders. There had been in effect no uniformity in the jail procedure. However, The Bengal Jail Code of 1864 developed in the subsequent years into a compendium of rules and regulations issued from time to time and meant for the superintendence and management of all the jails, including the subsidiary jails, throughout the province. It comprised two parts, The Bengal Jail Code and The Bengal Subsidiary Jail Code.

     The Constitution of the people’s Republic of Bangladesh, 1972

     The Jail Code, 1894

     The Civil Procedure Code, 1908

     The Penal Code, 1860

     The Criminal Procedure Code, 1898

     The Special Powers Act, 1974

     The Children Act, 1974

     The Lunatic Act, 1912

In general, the criminal codes and procedures in effect in Bangladesh derive from the period of British rule, as amended by Pakistan and Bangladesh. These basic documents include the Penal Code, first promulgated in 1860 as the Indian Penal Code; the Police Act of 1861; the Evidence Act of 1872; the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1898; the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908; and the Official Secrets Act of 1911.The major classes of crimes are listed in the Penal Code, the country’s most important and comprehensive penal statute. Among the listed categories of more serious crimes are activities called “offenses against the state.” The Penal Code authorizes the government to prosecute any person or group of persons conspiring or abetting in a conspiracy to overthrow the government by force. An offense of this nature is also defined as “war against the state.” Whether or not an offense constitutes a conspiracy is determined by the “intent” of the participant, rather than by the number of the participants involved, so as to distinguish it from a riot or any other form of disturbance not regarded as antinational. Section 121 of the Penal Code makes antinational offenses punishable by death or imprisonment for twenty years. The incitement of hatred, contempt, or disaffection toward a lawfully constituted authority is also a criminal offense punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Among other categories of felonies are offenses against the public tranquility (meaning unlawful assembly), rioting, and public disturbances; offenses relating to religion; and offenses against property, such as theft, robbery, and dacoity (robbery by a group of five or more persons).

The administration and management of prisons in Bangladesh is carried out according to the Rules and Acts as enumerated in volumes 1 and 2 of Jail Code, formulated by colonial rulers during the 19th century.

8.2 International Instrument regarding prison

A number of international instrument have provided for standards for treatment of prisoners. Among these the most important is the standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. This standard Minimum rules was adopted by the first united Nations Congress on the prevention of crime and the Treatment of Offenders held at Geneva. It was approved by the Economic and social council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076 (L-XII) of 13 May 1977.This standard Minimum Rules enjoins the authority of every prison to keep a bound register where the detail particulars of the prisoners will be recorded. It imposes and obligation to keep different types of prisoners in different parts of the prison taking account of their sex, age, criminal record. It requires the prison authority to keep untried prisoners separately from convicted prisoners, women from men, and young prisoners from adults. All sleeping accommodation, as per the provision of the standard Minimum Rules, shall meet all the requirements of health, due regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating, and ventilation. The sanitary installations shall be adequate to enable every prisoner to comply with the needs of nature when necessary and in a clean and decent manner. Prisoners shall be adequate to enable every prisoner to comply with the needs of nature when necessary and in a clean and decent manner. Prisoners shall be provided with water and with such toilet articles as are necessary for health and cleanliness. Every prisoner shall be provided with an outfit of clothing suitable for the climate and adequate to keep him/her in good health, and shall be provided with a separate bed. Every prisoner shall be provided at the usual hours with food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength, of wholesome quality and well prepared and served. Standard Minimum Rules further provides that prisoners shall be allowed under necessary supervision to communicate with their family and reputable friends at regular intervals, both by correspondence and by receiving visits. The rules enjoin the prison authority to establish a library for the use of all categories of prisoners and ensure arrangements so that the prisoners can perform their religious prayers.


Prison Administration system in Bangladesh

9.1 Prison Administration

A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. A prison system is the organizational arrangement of the provision and operation of prisons. Imprisonment is a penalty which is given by the state for committing any crime. Prison administration system of Bangladesh is not good in terms of overcrowding, delays in judicial proceedings, living conditions in prison, the operational environment and management of prisons, and infrastructure and facilities. In order to improve prison administration system of Bangladesh we have to take certain steps such as- increase better living condition of prisoner’s accommodations adequate protection of women and child prisoners, adequate vocational training and facilities. The present system and practices of prison administration were established during the 200-year period of British domination, which ended in 1947. From 1947 to 1971, when Pakistan administered the country, no improvements were made, so that imprisonment today means punishment without training or social rehabilitation.

Government should modernize the present system; it must make the prison service more attractive to potential recruits by providing better pay and higher job status to prison personnel. Recruitment practices should be changed so that background checks are performed and only candidates with good social and academic backgrounds are accepted. In addition, candidates should be required to pass written psychological, sociological, and personality tests.

The origin of jail administration based on a comprehensive law dates back to 1864, When the government of Bengal framed a detailed jail code. Until 1864, jail administration was carried out by means of sporadically issued circular letters and general orders. There had been in effect no uniformity in the jail procedure. However, The Bengal Jail Code of 1864 developed in the subsequent years into a compendium of rules and regulations issued from time to time and meant for the superintendence and management of all the jails, including the subsidiary jails, throughout the province. It comprised two parts, The Bengal Jail Code and The Bengal Subsidiary Jail Code.

9.2 Prison Officers and Staffs

The Ministry of Home Affairs, through the Directorate of Prisons, exercises overall responsibility for proper management of the prison system. Each prison is administered by sergeants, guards and other prison staff, under the supervision of the Superintendent of Jails. In the districts, the highest civilian official, the Deputy Commissioner, oversees the working of the jails, and is expected, along with district judicial officers, to visit the jails to supervise their management and receive complaints, if any, from the prisoners. Health services to them are provided by the staff of the district hospital

One inspector general works as the chief of prison department of Bangladesh called IG prison. There is also a post of Additional Inspector General. The whole of Bangladesh is divided into four zones for the administration of prison functions. A deputy inspector general (DIG) is in charge of each zone. Besides four DIGs, there is another post of DIG for the center. The total hierarchy of prisons officers and staffs are given below :

Inspector General of Prison

Additional Inspector General of Prison

Deputy Inspector General of Prison

Senior Jail Super

Junior Consultant

Assistant Jail Inspector

Jail Superintendent

Sub-Jail Superintendent


Deputy Jailor

Sergeant Instructor

Chief Jail Guard


Jail Guard

Apart from these officers and staffs there are doctors, nurses, administrative officers, budget officers, statistics officers, body guard and other fourth class employs in the prison department of Bangladesh.

9.3  Prisons and Capacity of Prisons

There are 67 prisons in Bangladesh. Among them 12 are central prisons and 55 are district prisons. In every district there is a prison whether central prison or district prison. Apart from them there are three unit of Dhaka central prison situated in Kashimpur, Gazipur. The 12 central prisons are –

  1. Dhaka Central Jail, Dhaka
  2. Dhaka Central Unit-1, Kashimpur, Gazipur
  3. Dhaka Central Jail Unit-2, Kashimpur, Gazipur
  4. Dhaka Central Jail Unit-3, Kashimpur, Gazipur
  5. Mymensingh Central Jail,
  6. Jesore Central Jail
  7. Barisal Central Jail
  8. Rajshahi Central Jail
  9. Comilla Central Jail
  10. Chittagong Central Jail
  11. Sylhet Central Jail
  12. Rangpur Central Jail

The prisons of Bangladesh have accommodation for about 27,300 prisoners. But in average 890-90 thousands prisoners live in those prisons. As a result of holding more inmates than the capacity, prisons became incompatible for prisoners and providing proper service and facilities became of tough task. Here is a scenario of prisons of Bangladesh.

Division      Capacity      Number of Prisoners

Dhaka   8,626    30,609

Chittagong  7,183    23,424

Rajshahi      5,473    15,474

Khulna 6,012    15,415

Total     27,294  84,922

Date : July 29, 2007

There are 1900 prison inmates in Kasimpur-2 prison.The capacity of this jail is about         1500 .So it is very clear that the present situation of our prisons.


The Existing Problems in Prison System in Bangladesh (Findings)

  1. The problem of criminality in prison

The problem of criminality in prison is another matter of great concern but it is always remain in dark. There are many reasons of such criminality. Most of the prisoners are kept in same room without classifying his age, nature of crime and his previous crime report. As a result the habitual criminal easily dominates over the fresher prisoners. Some try to establish their superiority over his fellow prisoners through illegal manner, so an illegal competition is always continued among such inmates who create many sorts of violence in the prison. Another crime in prison is related to sexuality. “The continuous long absence from members of the family deprives the inmates of their sex gratification which is one of the vital biological urges of human life. Not being able to control this sex desire, the prisoners quite often resort to unnatural offences”  Some inmates involve in illicit relationship with women inmates taking help of some dishonest officers or staffs of the prison. Theft in prison is another crime, although it is petty in nature. Most of the prisoners are careless to the rules of the prison which creates the instability in prison.

  1. The Health and Medicare Condition of the prisoners:

The health of prisoners is an important issue which needs attention of the prison authorities. The state of health includes the description regarding past and present suffering of the disease of the new prisoners. The medical facility which is provided by the authority is not good enough. The previous condition of prisoner’s health and facilities provided by the authorities was worse than present. Prisoners are served with so low quality of food that they fall sick after consuming those foods. Chronic blood-dysentery has been a common disease of the prisoners in all the jails of Bangladesh. Almost all of them suffer from malnutrition, obviously the inadequate quantity of food being the reason. The overall condition has negative impact on the health hygiene of the prisoners. Most of the jail authorities in Bangladesh failed to fulfill Minimum standard set by the UN. They failed to ensure minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation inside the prisons. Because of the low quality food, inadequate water supply, unhygienic toilet and damp environment inmates suffer from various diseases like indigestion, diarrhea, dysentery and skin disease. The attached hospitals of the jails do not have sufficient medical facilities sometimes seriously ill patients have died due to lack of transport facilities when they are brought from jail to the hospital.

“The prisoners of 56 prisons among 67 around the Bangladesh are deprived from health care and medical facility due to the absence of prison hospital. There is no availability of ambulance services. So, the severe patients of prisons are taken to the general hospital by the prison van for their treatment. The treatment activates have been closed due to lack of manpower and doctor of which 11 prisons using the hospital. There are 11 prisons using the hospital amongst 67 prisons around the country, but there are not enough doctors and manpower to provide service to the ill prisoners. The conditions of the sick prisoners are being deteriorated due to lack of clean water supply and proper sanitation. There are only 16 doctors for about one sick prisoner all over the country as well as no specialist amongst them. The treatment services for the sick prisoners are being hampered due to the lack prisons hospital availability in the 56 prisons”   The High  Court of Madhya Pradesh, “The Court issued directions to the state Government to initiate adequate steps to control spread of diseases in prisons”  The Court enumerated the factors which account for increase in the number of prisoners exposed to infection of tuberculosis in prisons, they are as follows :

     Delay in diagnosis, neglect of prisoner’s health problems insufficient health services in prison.

     Failure of  medical services to refer T.B suspects for diagnosis or to initiate timely treatment;

     Transfer of  prisoners with infectious tuberculosis between and inside prisons;

     Overcrowding and prolonged confinement inside the cells

     Failure to segregate infectious cases from other prisoners;

     Sub-standard treatment resulting in failure to cure patients and prolonged infectiousness;

     Poor ventilation and poor nutrition may also lead to cause of disease

The prison hospitals are helping the following prisons; Dhaka, Chittagong, Rabgpur, Rajshahi, Jessore, Khulna, Barishal, Kumilla, Sylhet, Mymensing and Kashimpur. In total 16 doctors are providing medical services among the prisons but none of them are specialist. Only one of them is a women doctor. In Dhaka central prison 5 doctors, Kumilla prison 1 doctor, Chittagong prison 2 doctor, Sylehet prison 1 doctor, Mymensing prison 1 doctor, Jesore prison 1 doctor, Barisal prison 1 doctor and Kashimpur women prison 1 doctor provides the treatment facility to the sick prisoners. But they do not have a nurse to help the doctor. Rest of the 56 prisons, there is no prison hospital. But they have primary treatment centre. But they have no doctor. Sometimes the prison authority hires the doctor to provide medical treatment to sick prisoners. There is no facility for medical examination amongst the prisons. The prison authority provides Paracitamol, Napa, Histacine as well as Oral saline free of cost. Then, expensive medicines have to buy from the outside of the prison by the prisoners themselves. On 1972, a prison hospital of 50 beds was started at Dhaka Prisons with one doctor. Gradually it increased it bed on 150. There is a hospital of 200 beds in Kashimpur prisons, but there is only 1 doctor providing the services. If the prisoners become sick, the prisons police provides them the treatment as well as the medicine. The sick prisoners does not get the chance to be admitted to the hospital due to lack of accommodation at the hospital. In many time, dangerous terrorist as well as the VIP prisoners engaged the hospital cabin using their power as well as the illegal money. The food standard of the prisons is very bad. Sometimes the prison authority provides them with spoiled food.

  1. Prison Labour

The main object of punishment is to reform the offender. The offender is a human being. Applying the proper treatment or reformative method we can rehabilitate them in society. Utilizing of prisoners in productive work has been accepted as  one of the best  method of bringing about rehabilitation of offenders.TheXIIth International Penal and Penitentiary Conference held at Hague in 1950 suggested ‘work’ as the best alternative for channelizing the potential of prisoners for a useful purpose. The productive activities of the prisoners will be helpful for their physical and mental health and they will also be able to help their family by giving the money which is earned by them. As a result their family will sustain and they can think of returning to society as Law abiding citizens. Considering this matter I would like to refer the Justice Mullah Committee Report (1983), the supreme court of India observed that it contains a lot of suggestions as:

“All prisoners under sentence should be required to work subject to their physical and mental fitness as determined medically. Work is not to be conceived as additional punishment but as a means of furthering the rehabilitation of the prisoners, their training for work, the forming of better work habits, and of preventing idleness and disorder…..”

But it is a matter of great concern that the productive activities of prison inmates are used as tools of punishment. Extra work load, low wage and not pay the wage in proper amount and manner are the cause of considering such reformative method as a tools of punishment. The Supreme Court in State of Gujarat V. The High Court of Gujarat, reterated that reasonable wages should be paid to prisoners for the work or labour done while in prison and laid down guidelines for the same. The Court further held that conviction for a crime does not reduce  the person into a non-person whose rights are subject to  whims of prison administration. In our prisons, the opportunities to productive activities are limited.

  1. Deaths in Prison:

It is the common scenario of every prisons of Bangladesh. According to the prison authorities, many died from sickness. It was reported in the daily star in 9 July, 2013 that at least 49 prisoners were admitted into Dhaka Central jail hospital with serious injuries and wounds but failed to get required urgent treatment outside the prison. About 31 prisoners died in prison from January 1st to 3rd December 2013, it was reported by ASK. According to the rights organisation ASK, in 2010, 17 prisoners under trial and 3 convicted prisoners died in jail custody   and  in 2009, 28 prisoners under trial died in jail, as well as 30 convicted prisoners.

  1. Overcrowding in prison

Overcrowding is one of the most important problems of the prison system in Bangladesh. In Kasimpur -2 Jail there are 1900 prisoners which can hold 1500 prisoners. Bangladesh has a capacity of holding 27,294 prisoners in all its prisons as to the numbers of the jails in Bangladesh, three different authorities have mentioned three different numbers. Faustina Pereira has mentioned that the total numbers of jails in Bangladesh are 81,  Altaf Parvez has mentioned that the numbers are 77,   Ain O Salish Kendra has estimated 66 jails in Bangladesh.

According to the account of Faustina among 81 Jails, 9 are central jails, 56 district jails, and 16 are Thana jails across the country. According to a statistics of the first week of September, 2001, there was a total of 68,405 were 47,430 were awaiting trail and 1,203 were detained under the special powers Act, 1974, about 5,000 were awaiting trial of offences. Unfortunately their term of punishment was less than the period they had spent in jail.

Central jails accommodate convicted prisoners, whereas other jails house the trial prisoners. Overcrowding is the most actual problem encountered by the inmates, and it goes, usually, to such an extent that the total number of inmates in almost 3 – 5 times the total accommodation of the jails. One statistic of 2000 revealed that all the jails of Bangladesh can accommodate a maximum number of 23,942 inmates in total. But the jails had to house 59,885 inmates, more than two times the total capacity.Dhaka Central Jail can accommodate 2632 prisoners, but in 2003, it housed inmates three its capacity, The condition of Chittagong central jail was worse. It has the capacity to accommodate 1047 inmates, but in 2003, 5734 prisoners had to stay there, about five times its official capacity. In 2003 the total number of prisoners was 71,072. It was almost three times the official capacity of 25,396, In this year 34,530 prisoners were housed in 55 district jails which was more than three times the official capacity.

On 31 December 2004 there were 74,701 prisoners in 11 central jails and 55 district jails. Among the inmates 30.77 percent were convicted and 68.64 percent were awaiting trial. 31 prisoners were detained under the special powers Act, 1974. There were 401 foreign prisoners, who had completed their term of sentence, were languishing in different jails. The increase in the number of inmates can be attributed to arbitrary arrest and delayed trial procedure. A large number of prisoners cannot take the help of law because of their poverty. They even do not know their right to free legal aid. In some cases the inmates are kept in the jails after completion of their sentence.

6.Sleeping Condition in prison:

The sleeping condition in prison is matter of worry. Because Prisoners have to sleep in shifts at night because of the overcrowded situation of the jail. The current striped, coarse uniform worn by ordinary prisoners is considered most demoralising. A bed consists of two blankets one to spread on the floor, and another to use as a pillow — this is both inadequate and degrading. Such conditions are detrimental to prisoners physical and mental health, and in violation of their human rights.  Jail code allocates a space of 35 square feet for every prisoner, but prisoners hardly get the space mentioned. Each inmate had only one square feet of standing space in Naogoan Jail, let alone space for sleeping. Condition of Chittagong Central Jail in most deplorable as 200 inmates was made to use a single toilet and water was rationed to one mug per inmate per day.

  1. Condition of prison’s buildings:

The prison condition is very bad in Bangladesh. The building of the prisons is old and some are not sufficiently secured. In the absence of proper maintenance the old building may collapse. Budget constraints delayed the new construction. Overcrowding, tiny cells for prisoners, insufficient ventilation and sewerage have created serious health problems for the prisoners. In a small cell eight persons can sleep and other eight can lean against the wall and weir for sleeping. Poor ventilation and low water supply for drinking and bathing cause the permanent problem of ill health of the prisoners. Low budgets and corruption give rise to inadequate nutrition and insufficient medical facilities. Scarcity of medical and other facilities encouraged the prison officials to become corrupt. Indiscriminate arrests and procrastination of judicial procedure are the reasons for overcrowding in the prisons. In 2004 about 68 percent of the prisoners were awaiting trial. Many prisoners were arrested under section 54 of the criminal procedure code 1898 and section 86 of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance, 1976. Many prisoners were detained for committing minor offences and many stayed beyond the sentence. Foreign prisoners are no exception to this.

8.Child Prisoners

There were 1,405 child prisoners in different jails by the end of 2004. Of them 35 percent were in 17 jails in Dhaka Division and 65 percent in 57 other jails. Another 234 child prisoners were in different correction centers. Among them 107 were in Tongi Correction Centre 86 in Jessore correction centre, 41 in Konabari correction Centre.22 The National Task force, constituted in 2003, instructed to take necessary measures to transfer the child prisoners from jails to the correction centers and also to take measures for improving their health while in prison. On August 3, 2004 the High Court Division ordered the government to submit a report within six months on the implementation of its earlier order to transfer the listed children to the correction centers. The court also ordered to fulfill the mandate of the children Act, 1974 and not to try child prisoners with adult accused. Under trial prisoners have the fundamental right to prompt trial, the court also observed. “The law requires that juveniles be held separately from adults, but in practice many juveniles were incarcerated with adults. Children were sometimes imprisoned (occasionally with their mothers) despite laws and court decisions prohibiting the imprisonment of minors.”

Case study

ASK and BLAST Vs. Bangladesh and others ,


BLAST, along with Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), filed a writ petition based on a news item published in the Daily Star on 09.04.2007 challenging the detention of 420 juvenile prisoners alongside adults in different jails around Bangladesh while the three Correctional Homes having accommodation capacity for 700 children had only 200 inmates.


The petitioners argued that detention of juvenile prisoners alongside adults violates Sections 48 and 55 of the Children Act, 1974; Rule 962 of the Bengal Jail Code; and the fundamental right to be treated in accordance with law under Article 31 of the Constitution. They also referred to Article 20 and 40 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1990; Article 14(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966; the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, 1985; the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, 1900; and the Minimum Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, 1900.


The High Court issued a Rule Nisi on 24.07.2007 directing the respondents to take necessary steps to transfer the juveniles held in jails to Juvenile Development Centers and to show cause as to why their detention should not be declared illegal and without any lawful authority.

Laws Cited:

Constitution, Article 31; The Children Act, 1974 and Rules 1976; Probation of Offenders Ordinance, 1960 and Rules 1971; Bengal Jail Code

International Instruments Cited:

Convention on the Rights of the Child,1990; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966; Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, 1985  United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, 1900; Minimum Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, 1900


The petitioners made an application for immediate transfer of juvenile detainees languishing in jail to correctional homes, or for release in appropriate cases, which was allowed on 17.07.2008. The Court ordered the respondents, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Social Welfare, Department of Social Services and Inspector General of Prisons to transfer juveniles to Correctional Homes. The juveniles have since been transferred to the Juvenile Development Centre pursuant to the Court order dated 17.07.2008. The case is pending for hearing.

10.Corruption in Prison Department:

Extortion by prison staff and corruption of the grounds is common. Given the extensive power that prison guards exercise over inmates, these problems are obvious. The poorly paid guards try to complement their regular earnings by exploiting the prisoners as bait for their friends and relatives.

11.Violence in prison

Violence is common at the prisons. Inmates on inmates violence is an unsurprising result of official slackness. By neglecting to take charge of the inmates within their facilities , by failing to act in response to incidences of violence, by wickedly allowing the entry of armament into the prisons and by generally abetting the domination of the strongest prisoners over the weakest, prison authorities are directly liable for the violence.

12.Recruitment and Training of Prison Officials

The recruitment and training of prison officers and staff under existing rules and procedures of prison officers and staff under existing rules and procedures are insufficient for the needs of prisoners.  Prison service in most developed countries are considered to be quite advanced as correction officers are educating offenders, as part of the effort to facilitate the reform and eventual reintegration of prisoners into society. This contrasts with the prison system in Bangladesh, which is geared towards containment and punishment of prisoners, and does not facilitate their reform. Hence, prison officers and staff are not recruited with appropriate skills nor trained adequately for proper reform .

13.Probleme releting women inmates:

A lots of problems are remaining in our prison system regarding female inmates. Sometimes there are sexually tortured by the prisons staff. Some female inmates are involved in illicit reletion with male prisoners or prison staff.Somedays ago a female inmates were prescribed as pregnant by medical officer of prison although there was no possibility to make any sexual relation with anyone. But it was happened. It was the talk of that time.With a view to improving the plight of women prisoners in jails the Supreme Court’s directives stated in Sheela barse v.Stae of Maharastra ,deserve particular mention. They are briefly stated as follows:-

     Female prisoners and suspects should be guarded by female guards or constables. Obviously, they should be separated from male wards.

     Interrogation of women should be carried out in presence of women officials.

     Intimation regarding arrest of a woman offender must be immediately given to her relatives.

     Information of such arrest must be immediately sent to the nearest Legal Aid Committee.

The female inmates are very minimal in number than the male inmates which shows that criminal behavior in female population of Bangladesh is not a widely spread phenomenon. This claim can be illustrated by the statistics given below  –

Division      Prisoners waiting for trial (hajoti)     Convicted prisoners (Koedi)     Prisoners waiting for the execution of death sentences

Male     Female Male     Female Male     Female

Dhaka   20,242  907 8,494    252 413 15

Chittagong  16,764  589 5,443    134 178 2

Rajshahi      9,824    522 4,806    144 150 5

Khulna 9,210    340 5,139    173 176 1

Total     56,040  2,358    23,882  703 917 23

Date : July 29, 2007

  1. Torture in Prisons:

Torture in prisons is very common incident now-a-days. The Human Rights workers or Agencies are not permitted to work inside the prisons. As a result the real view of the prison’s inner side is always remaining in dark. But an aggrieved person can ensure his or her right to life & liberty through writ petition which is guaranteed by the Constitution. The Suprem Court of India held that “ mere detention is no ground for suspension of detenue’s fundamental rights”


Recommendation and Conclusion

Inorder to make the prison life less abnormal and provide better opportunities for rehabilitation of prisoners, the present prison system should be reformed. After the independence of Bangladesh a committee headed by the Chief Justice F K M Munim submitted recommendations to the government. In 2003 another committee was formed which has also submitted their recommendations. But there is no implementation of their recommendations. Here is a branch of proposal which are supposed to replace the existing problem of the prisons of Bangladesh.

11.1 Recommendations:

How to improve prison administration system of Bangladesh-

  1. The governing Laws of prison in our country are outdated. Such laws should be amended as early as possible. The Government of peoples Republic of Bangladesh has already taken initiative to modify the Jail Code. But it is not enough for the present prison and prison administration of our country. It is important to promote the concepts of prison reform and the protection of human rights and security of prisoners based on the evidence that such treatment is more effective than retributive treatment.
  2. We know that it is not possible for us to eradicate corruption from any Administration completely. But it can be decreased at a remarkable number. The corruption of prison officers and staffs should be stopped. Accountability and absence of arbitrariness can help to minimize such corruption. Check and balance in the prison administration in enjoying their power can also help to eradicate corruption and arbitrariness.
  3. Female prisoners and suspects should be guarded by female guards or constables. Obviously, they should be separated from male wards. Interrogation of women should be carried out in presence of women officials there should be separate prisons for female prisoners. Failing this, female wards should be completely separated by a partition wall from male prisoners. It is strongly felt that there should be separate prisons for adolescent convicts.
  4. No doubt, it is very much necessary for separation of juvenile’s convicts prisons. Although we have some separate juvenile prisons. But those are not enough for the increased number of juvenile convicts. Correctional programme for juvenile convicts should be modified. Realistic attempt should be taken for the natural flourishement of juvenile convicts.
  5. Open prison system can change our existing prison Administration. We know that we have some limitation to implement the concept of open prison system. Government should take primary steps in this regard and make a good plan to implement it gradually.
  6. As prison is a correctional centre in the modern senses, so every party relating to prison should be very sincere about their duties. Better monitoring of the performance of prison staff should be undertaken in order to remove anomalies existing in Prison administration.
  7. All prisoners under sentence should be required to work subject to their physical and mental fitness as determined medically. Work is not to be conceived as additional punishment but as a means of furthering the rehabilitation of the prisoners, their training for work, the forming of better work habits, and of preventing idleness and disorder.
  8. All prisoners have rights to access in proceedings of the Court. Prisoners should also be allowed to send complaints against prison officials directly to the Ministry of Home Affairs, without censorship by jail authorities.
  9. The system of visits should be improved so that it provides checks and balances on the administration of prisons. Vulnerable groups should be able to put forward their grievances to visitors for redress. Visitors should have free access to all classes of prisoners, except political Prisoners.
  10. The prison officers and staffs are not well paid. The conditions for prison officers and staff should be improved. Since prison officers are working under difficult circumstances they should be allowed better scales of pay and allowances, at a par with the police which can help to eradicate corruption from prison.
  11. For getting better service from the prisons officers and staffs, Government should establish prison staff training academy.
  12. The medical facility for the prisoners should be increased. Hospital should be established for all District jails. To improve the medical administration of the prisons, proper medical administration and equipments are recommended.
  13. There should be separated room for different criminal prisoners. The room should be separated considering the criminals age, past record of criminality and nature of his or her offence. The harden criminals should be separated from the new criminals.
  14. I am completely agreed with the Supreme Court of India that the prisoners’ rights should be protected by the court by its writ jurisdiction plus contempt power. To make this jurisdiction viable, free legal services to the prisoner’s programmes shall be promoted through recognized legal aid societies. The district bar shall keep a cell for prisoner’s relief.
  15. Vocational training facilities both for males & females should be updated so that they can find job opportunities upon release.
  16. Government should take proper steps to decrease the overcrowding problem in prison by establishing prisons building, increasing budget amount in prison system and taking technical action for minimizing of committing criminal offences from society. Considering the nature of offences and its grievousness, government can take action for applying Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in such offences.

 11.2 Conclusion

Prisoners are human being, so humanitarian conduct towards them may help them to reform themselves. But present prison system is the main obstacle in the way of the reformation of the prisoners. By providing healthy environment, comfortable sleeping conditions, providing proper vocational training and education, providing healthy and hygienic food we can help them to rehabilite  themselves in the society. To modify the present prison system to correctional centre Government agencies as well as NGOs and civil society should come ahead. No prisoners will be the subject of any discrimination on the basis of race, colure, sex, or different opinion. Juvenile and women prisoners should be treated as properly. By ensuring all of these we can get a modern prison system which can uphold the humanity.