LAHORE – Modern reforms are being introduced in 32 prisons of the province. In the first phase, special packages of providing jobs, health facilities and free education to the families of martyred jailers, wardens and other officers would be introduced soon.

Newly-appointed Inspector General of Prisons Punjab Mian Farooq Nazeer expressed these views during an exclusive interview with TheNation and Nawa-i-Waqt on Thursday. The top cop said the jails' authorities were giving priority to quality of food, which is served to prisoners, and foolproof security arrangements around the prisons. He said four special summaries had been forwarded to the Punjab government.

“According to the first summary, the government has been requested to provide Rs 3 million to the martyred officer of Prison Department, as the package is being given to the martyred officer of the Punjab Police,” he stated. Similarly, he said, the department was recruiting the family members of the martyred officers within one week, as this trend was suspended for the last two years. “According to policy, Rs 400,000 are commonly given to the bereaved family members of the martyred cops, but the amount has not been provided for the last several months but it would be ensured till January 15,” he pledged.

Mian Nazeer further said all the jails authorities had been warned of strict disciplinary action on charges of providing sub standard food to the prisoners. He said Rs 80 were given for the meal of each prisoner on daily basis and the authorities had been strictly directed to ensure standardised food to the prisoners.

“We are focusing on security arrangements. According to new security plan, no visitor will be allowed to enter jail premises without producing original identity card and record of all visitors is being maintained on daily basis,” he added. He said all the four DIGs of the Punjab Prisons had been directed to ensure foolproof security arrangements and personally examine the jails and point out loopholes in the security system. He said the security at all jails across the province in the wake of prevailing situation would be beefed up besides strengthening of round-the-clock patrolling. “We cannot compromise on security measures and if any jailer is found negligent then a strict action would be taken against him,” he remarked.

The IG Prisons, however, complained that the department was confronting severe shortage of at least 2,000 officers and recruitments would be made soon.

To a query, the IG said promotional system was poor but with due course of time special training courses would be conducted and better promotion structure would be chalked out. He also said special measures were being taken to eliminate the culture of corruption and mobile usage inside the jails.

Mian Frooq Nazeer said 14 new prisons were under construction and would be completed within one year.