Nelson Mandela once said “it is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails’’ and “a nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones’

Prison is called ‘correction’ nowadays. The modern prison system is revolved on six Cc i.e. Custody, Care, Control, Correction, Cure and Community .The main purpose of the prison is to detain a person there and keep him away from a society for certain period because of his offensive behaviour. The society demands that the offender should be retrained and reformed in the correction, so he can join the society again as a law abiding citizen. When a citizen commits a crime or offence, he breaks the law of the state and violates the rights of an individual. Therefore in every criminal case the state is registered as a party (prosecutor) against the offender. The state stands with the complainant as guarantor and protector of the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.

The concept of jail/correction in modern state is a place where the state machinery accepts a “love the sinner but hate the sin” policy and converts the captives into law abiding citizens. The state should treat the captives as students and teach them the value of deterrence, tolerance and mutual respect, sense of responsibility as a citizen, morality, humanity through reformative and therapeutic approach. Despite the seriousness of their crimes and heinous offences however, the loss of liberty is all the punishment they suffered.

While convicting and sending the prisoners to prison, the courts have never fortified their dignity and basic fundamental rights. The scheme behind this imprisonment is to provide them a conducive climate for becoming law abiding citizens. Justice Marshall once said “a prisoner does not shed his basic constitutional rights at the prison gate”

Although there is no concept of prison in Islam, The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had introduced unique system of treatment with prisoners fourteen hundred year ago. The system was totally based on reformative approach. One of the criteria of releasing the prisoners devised by the Prophet (PBUH) was that those who were literate among the prisoners could go free if they teach ten Muslim children how to read and write and the remaining were associated with followers to render services according to their skills. The Quran prescribed about prisoners that they should be accorded kind and humane treatment. They should be properly fed.

Unfortunately, the prison system of Pakistan is governed under the old colonial archaic laws. The Prisoner Act 1894, The Punjab Borstal Act, 1926, Good Conduct Prisoners Probation Release Act, 1926 and Pakistan Prison Rules 1978. With these laws, Pakistan cannot claim jail as rehabilitation centres.

The main issues of Pakistani jails are that the prisons are abundantly overcrowded in Pakistan, as October 1, 2017 the NACTA released figures that there were 84,287 prisoners in 112 prisons across the country with an overall official capacity of 53,744. This indicates an occupancy rate of 157 percent resulting in huge overstretched resources and leading to several problems for the prisoners. Of the total prisoners, 55426 were under trial prisoners, making the pre-conviction detention rate at 66 percent much higher than the global median average rate of 27 percent, Lack of professional capacity of prison staff, especially training in prisoner’s psychology, rehabilitation programmes, sports, education, imparting skills development and awareness in crime sociology and various other modern techniques of learning through provincial prison training academies except national Academy of Prison Administration (NAPA). The next sad episodes are torture in the jails, merciless beatings, ill treatment and mental abuse, making Pakistani prisons breeding grounds for delinquency and immorality. Whereas articles 14 of the Constitution of Pakistan assures dignity of citizens and protect them against torture; openly not only denying the basic fundamental rights to prisoners but also the international commitment as contracting state of international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 –ICCPR and the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading treatment or Punishment 1984-CAT.

Similarly, medical facilities, discriminatory behaviour of jail staff with the underprivileged prisoners based on social and political connections, menace of bribe for visits of spouses and other family members to jail staff, denial of legal aids and poor arrangements of transportation for under trail prisoners to courts. These penalization methods will produce hardened criminals not rehabilitated individuals. The world has changed the prison system and giving the concept of rehabilitation and technical alteration of deviants, the civilized world has approved the idea of retribution and therapeutic approach in penology (curing the criminal tendencies through psychoanalysis).

The UN General Assembly in December 2015 adopted the revised rules as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. These rules are now known as ‘’the Nelson Mandela Rules-NMR “to honour the legacy of the late President of the South Africa, who spent 27 years in prison. These rules are very comprehensive and meet the modern standards of Prison management.

The UNODC has also approved assessing Compliance with the Nelson Mandela Rules, a check list for internal inspection Mechanism. By using this document, the Government of Pakistan can easily monitor the progress of Prisons in Pakistan. Pakistan should immediately review its all existing legislation and initiate prisons reform in the light of NMR. The Government of Pakistan should constitute a commission to monitor compliance of NMR in the prison. The members of the Commission should be taken from Human rights organizations, civil society, NGOs and legal experts.