FAR from being servants of the people, our police officials are a law unto themselves. While on the streets they harass ordinary law-abiding citizens, their true colours can be seen within the four walls of police stations and jail premises. To men with conscience, the inmates across the countrys jails would look like animals in captivity. The hunger strike of 600 inmates at Kot Lakhpath Jail on Friday would lend credibility to the preceding statements. The prisoners are protesting what they claim is atrocious treatment at the hands of the jail authorities. The inmates complain that the jail superintendent has been demanding bribe and on refusal they are subjected to a very harsh treatment including torture. Though the situation has drawn the attention of police high-ups, whether the complaints are redressed remains anybodys guess. We have before us examples from jails across the country, where official promises and assurances were never honoured. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhrys visit to Adiala jail this year did raise the hope for a new era for the countrys prison system, yet the total lack of interest by the executive keeps the dream from becoming a reality. The pity is that our prisons have become centres where crime thrives. Juvenile prisoners and petty law-breakers end up being hardened criminals. All this is done under the 'watchful eye of the wardens. Unfortunately, there is little indication that a classification system based on separate cells for the inmates keeping in view the nature of their offence would be set up in the foreseeable future. At present, even basic facilities like clean drinking water, hygienic food and public call offices etc are non-existent. Strictly speaking, jails are part and parcel of the retributive justice. But their overarching purpose is that of moral edification of the inmates making them better individuals. Of what use is the jailing system if it overlooks this very aspect?