By Prashansa Khandelwal
QuoraED, an ED Original content style. This is when we pick up a trending or interesting thread from Quora and spin a story around it.
Purpose of prisons
Retribution – when someone harms the society, society has the rights to punish him. Check
Incapacitate– a felon can’t commit crime while imprisoned. Check
Deterrence– the threat of punishment prevents a person from engaging in illegal acts. Check
Rehabilitation– the punishment changes the person to be a better human and citizen afterwards. Really?
What comes to your mind when you think about a prison?
Going by what our movies have you believe it has a domineering, high on testosterone jailer, beaten –up prisoners, a messed up place which scars you for life and from where there is no coming back.
Well, it’s not as bad as it looks, in India it’s worse.
I came across this question on Quora and the answers just shocked me. The stark reality of Indian prisons is just plain sad.
The original question says, “What is life like in an Indian prison?”
The highest rated answer was by someone who had spent three years in prison. This anonymous man wrote, “I spent 3 years in one North Indian Jail, from years 2005-2008. I was an industrialist earlier & I belong to South India.
You have to wake up early around 5 – 5.30 a.m. Breakfast is served around 6.30 in the morning. And sometimes they do head count in the morning. “
There are two types of prisoners. Privileged & Non-privileged.
Privileged – Politicians or close relatives of politicians, high profile scumbags who have ‘connections’ and ‘contacts’
Non-privileged – Aam Aadmi.
Privileged people spend a better time. They don’t have much restrictions. And they are given most of the facilities. They get their work done from other inmates. Sometimes a barrack has TV, then these people will be having the remote.
They get good food, some people specially cooked for them, some manage to get from outside. Court gives permissions for some people so that their family can send food, daily or periodically.
Some even get air conditioned rooms, mosquito nets, books, chair, bed, a better mattress, easy chair, table etc. They call/get barbers whenever they want. Get their clothes washed whenever they want.
They also get some special services if they have some sexual desires.
Coming to unprivileged, the unlucky ones. You have to eat the horrible food with so many others. You don’t get cleaned toilets nor do you get clean clothes. Only 2 or 3 mattresses are given.
No mosquito net. No books, nothing. You must be prepared to live your life in a tiny 15 x 10 feet cell. You should learn to be quiet & be respectful to jail authorities however they behave with you.
There is a gang influence in prison & usually the gang leaders belong to privileged group.
The rich Jails and their story
Financial Jails are jails where politicians normally go when they get caught.
Food is served in jail plates, you can pay the cook (it’s like 10k) and get food from any restaurant. Beds have cushions, and even pillows. It’s a Vacation Home (Wonder why Vijay Mallya is running?)
Another answer that spoke of Indian jails in great detail wrote-
“In one of my school days, a senior student (with whom I had a close relationship) had kidnapped a fellow classmate of his for money. After his jail period, he spoke to me about his ordeal in jail. He was given a single blanket to sleep in and to wear it over himself.”
There was one single tank of water and one single mug using which he had to wash his body, and he had to use the same mug and water to quench his thirst. He was regularly pinched on his buttocks by inmates and was daily harassed by the Prison Guards. The quality of meals was extremely poor.
For a crime considered equal before law, Indian prisons are unable to provide even the same punishment to the prisoners. If you are a rich man living in India, well congrats! because it’s both easy for you to commit a crime and not suffer in the punishment that proceeds.
And if you are a middle class or poor person, the hell outside is better than the one in prisons. For a prison system that ceases to be just, rehabilitation is a far-fetched dream.
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