LAW, ORDER AND JUSTICE
There are two district prisons and twelve taluka sub-jails in Ahmadnagar district. The two district prisons are located at Visapur and Ahmadnagar, respectively.
Classification: The prison at Visapur has been classified as the district class 1 prison and is meant for confinement of casual prisoners sentenced upto five years only. Prisoners are received from various prisons in the western region especially from Bombay. Long-term local prisoners are also admitted in this prison. However, under-trial prisoners or women-prisoners are kept there. The district prison at Ahmadnagar which has been classified as class III district prison is meant for confinement of local under-trial prisoners as well as short-term prisoners sentenced up to six months, from the local and surrounding sub-jails. The taluka sub-jails governed under the rules of the Bombay Sub-Jail Manual in the district, are located at Kopargaon, Akola, Sangamner, Shrirampur, Rahuri, Newasa, Shevgaon, Parner, Pathardi, Karjat. Jamkhed and Shrigonda.
Visapur district prison can accommodate 832 prisoners where as the capacity of the Ahmadnagar district prison is 48 only.
Organisation: For purposes of prison administration, the Stale has been divided into two regions, viz., Eastern Region and Western Region. The Aurangabad and Nagpur revenue divisions constitute the Eastern Region and Bombay and Pune revenue divisions constitute the Western Region. The Superintendents of Nagpur Central Prison and the Yeravda Central Prison have been appointed as ex-officio Deputy Inspectors-General of Prisons of the Eastern and Western Regions, respectively. Some of the powers exercised by the Inspector-General of Prisons have been delegated to the Deputy Inspectors-General of Prisons. The Regional Deputy Inspectors-General of Prisons have been put in the immediate over-all charge of the prisons in their respective regions. The Inspector-General of Prisons exercises general control and superintendence of all prisons and jails in the State, subject to the orders of the State Government.
The Superintendent, Ahmadnagar District Prison, is vested with executive management of the prison in all matters relating to internal economy, discipline, labour, punishment, etc., subject to the orders and authority of the Regional Deputy Inspector-General of Prisons and the Inspector-General of Prisons, Maharashtra State, Pune. The Superintendent of the Ahmadnagar District Prison is assisted in his work by the Jailor Group II and other ministerial staff. Prisoners promoted to the rank of Convict Overseers and Night Watchmen are utilised for prison services.
Medical staff: The full-time Medical Officer on deputation from the Medical Department looks after the prison hospital at the Ahmadnagar District Prison.
Training: The Jail Officers' Training School was started in 1955 at Pune, with a view to imparting practical as well as theoretical training to the prison officers (Superintendents of Prisons, Jailors Group I and II) on various subjects relating to correctional administration and prison management. This school provides training to Guards and N.C.O.s also.
An accounts test has been prescribed for Gazetted and Non-Gazetted staff of the prison department. The examination is conducted by the Public Service Commission twice a year. The Inspector-General of Prisons conducts examination twice a year for ministerial and technical staff. The ministerial staff is deputed for training in accounts matters every three months. The training is organised by the Deputy Director of Accounts and Treasuries at Bombay, Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad.
Recruitment: The post of the Inspector-General of Prisons is filled in by appointment of an I.C.S. or I.A.S. officer or by promotion from amongst those who are borne on the cadre of the Superintendent of
Central Prisons (i.e., including the holder of the post of the Deputy Inspector-General) or by transfer of a suitable officer in Maharashtra Medical Service, class I or by direct recruitment.
The Superintendents of Central Prisons are officers promoted from the ranks of Superintendents of District Prisons. The senior-most Superintendent of Central Prison is usually appointed to hold the post of Deputy Inspector-General in consultation with the Public Service Commission. The Superintendents of District Prisons are appointed both by direct recruitment or by promotion from amongst Jailors in Grade I.
Classification of prisoners : Prisoners are classified as class I or class II by the Court after taking into consideration their status in society and also the nature of the offence. They are further classified as casual, habitual, under-trial etc. There is no separate class of political prisoners but certain rules which do not allow the grant of facilities and privileges on the score of length of sentence are relaxed in their favour under the specific orders of Government. Prisoners are also grouped as "short-termers, medium-termers and long-termers". Prisoners with a sentence upto three months are classed as short-termers, those sentenced upto a period of three months and above but upto two years are classified as medium-termers and those sentenced upto two years and above are classified as long-termers. Head-quarters sub-jails are meant for the confinement of short-term prisoners and under-trial prisoners only.
Work: On admission, a prisoner is examined by the Medical Officer and is classified as fit for light, medium or hard labour. Aptitude and past experience are also considered before allotting the work.
The prison at Visapur being a semi-open institution, the prisoners are mainly employed on agriculture farms. Besides there are industries which give employment to prisoners in textile, tailoring, smithy, etc. The prisoners at Ahmadnagar district prison are engaged mainly in prison maintenance and prison service.
At Visapur prison, 87.22 acres of land is under cultivation, out of which 48 acres are under irrigation and 39.22 acres, under dry farming. The major produce comprises vegetables, food-grains and sugar-cane. This prison is self-sufficient in respect of vegetables. Most of the prisoners at Visapur are given training in modern methods of agriculture.
Wages: Medium-term and long-term prisoners so also security and under-trial prisoners who volunteer to work are paid as per the prison rules. They are generally paid
1/5th of the wages which are normally paid for similar work outside, provided they complete their daily quota.
Release on Parole and Furlough: A prisoner is released on parole by the Divisional Commissioner, Pune Division, Pune, in the event of serious illness or death of any member of the family or nearest relative of the prisoner or any other cause deemed sufficient. The period spent on parole is not counted as part of the sentence. A prisoner who is sentenced to more than a year and upto five years and who has actually undergone one year's imprisonment, is eligible for release on furlough for a period of two weeks. A prisoner sentenced to more than five years is eligible for release on furlough on completion of two years of actual imprisonment. The period spent on parole counts as part of the sentence in their case.
Remission of sentence: The prisoners are granted remissions on various grounds such as ordinary, annual good conduct, special, state, blood donation, conservancy work, and physical training. State remission is awarded by the Government on various occasions of public rejoicing.
Advisory Board: The cases of long-term prisoners are initially reviewed by an Advisory Board. Deserving prisoners are released prematurely under the orders of Government by remitting the unexpired portion of their sentences.
Board of Visitors: A Board of Visitors comprising official and non-official visitors is appointed for every head-quarters sub-jail and taluka sub-jails. There are ordinarily four non-official visitors for the head-quarters sub-jail, out of whom two are members of the Maharashtra Legislature and two are nominated by Government of whom one is a lady-visitor. The appointment of non-official visitors other than members of the Maharashtra Legislature is made for a period not exceeding three years. Persons who in the opinion of Government are interested in prison administration and are likely to take interest in the welfare of prisoners both while they are in prison and after their release are nominated by Government on the Board of Visitors on the recommendation of the District Magistrate concerned and Inspector-General of Prisons. The Chairman of the Board of Visitors who is usually the District Magistrate arranges for a weekly visit to the prison by one of the members of the Board. Quarterly meetings of the Board are also convened. Non-official visitors are also allowed to visit the prison on any day and at any time during the day in addition to the weekly visit arranged by the Chairman. The Board records in the visitors' book its observations after the detailed inspection of the jails. Any remark at the quarterly meeting or at the weekly visits deserving special and prompt disposal is immediately forwarded by the Superintendent to the Inspector-General for necessary orders with such remarks as the former may desire to offer.
In bigger jails a committee of prisoners is selected for each year
by the prisoners themselves, and the Jailor and the Superintendent consult the committee which is known as " Jail Panchayat Committee " in matters of discipline and general welfare of prisoners.
With a view to providing training in co-operation and disciplined way of life and in cultivating a sense of responsibility and self-reliance among the inmates, a Panchayat of convicted prisoners has been organised at the District Prison, Ahmadnagar.
Education: Literacy classes are conducted for prisoners under the supervision of literate convicts and paid teachers. Regular annual examinations are held in the jail by the Deputy Educational Inspectors.
Towards these literacy classes, the Jail Department receives grant-in-aid from the Education Department. Twenty-five per cent of the grant-in-aid received is given to the convict-teachers as an encouragement after the quarterly examinations of the students (prisoners) are held and the remaining portion is utilised towards the purchase of books, boards, etc., required for literacy classes.
Recreational and cultural activities: Documentary and full-length films are exhibited to prisoners ordinarily once a month by the Publicity Department. Newspapers are supplied to convict prisoners at Government cost as per the scale laid down under the rules. A library has been organised for the benefit of prisoners. Prisoners are also permitted to keep at
a time two religious and ten non-religious books of their own. Facilities for playing games like hu-tu-tu. khw-kho. volley-ball, atya-patya, lezim, etc., have been provided for prisoners.
Welfare of prisoners: Matters pertaining to the welfare of prisoners are attended to by prison officers as per rules. A canteen is also conducted for their benefit.
Discipline: Emphasis is always laid on the maintenance of good discipline in the prison. Positive and constructive discipline is treated as the basic foundation for wholesome changes in the attitude of the prisoners.