In Pakistan more than 100 prisons are located in different regions of Pakistan. There are 32 prisons in Punjab and 26 prisons in Sindh. All these prisons have prisoners of different age groups including children, females and males. Recently The Educationist reporter gets a chance to visit the Central Jail of D.G.Khan which was established in 1913. The authorized accommodation of the Jail is 710 prisoners whereas 643 prisoners were conﬁned there.
The educationist realized the value of education for those who are behind the bars and talked to the Jail Superintendent Mr. Jam Asif in this regard.
THE EDUCATIONIST: Can you tell us the number of prisoners in D.G.Khan Jail?
Jam Asif Iqbal: Currently we have 643 prisoners in the jail, including 5 children and 6 women. The total capacity of the jail is 710 prisoners.
THE EDUCATIONIST: What medical facilities are given to prisoners?
Jam Asif Iqbal: We are giving well and good medical facilities to the prisoners. We are especially focusing on the health of the prisoners so for the purpose we have a hospital in which every possible facility is being provided to the prisoners like ECG Machine, Ultrasound and other different test facilities. Medical officer is available round the clock. hospital is well equipped with laboratories and pharmacy as well.
THE EDUCATIONIST: There are news that prisoners are not provided good food. Is it right?
Jam Asif Iqbal: No, this is total misconception among the people that quality of food is not good in prisoners. We are providing hygienic food to our prisoners and a diet plan for the prisoners is approved by the nutritionists of Agricultural University Faisalabad. According to that diet plan we are giving chicken for six days and vegetable for one day to prisoners. We offer two times meal including breakfast.
THE EDUCATIONIST: Do you provide any special diet to ill prisoners?
Jam Asif Iqbal: Yes! We are giving them special food as per recommendations of doctors which they suggest according to their conditions like fruits and milk etc.
THE EDUCATIONIST: Tell us about the education facilities being provided to prisoners?
Jam Asif Iqbal: We are providing best and quality education to prisoners who are willing to get education. Religious teacher is also available for the prisoners. Different courses are available for the prisoners like law, computer courses upto masters level.
THE EDUCATIONIST: Is there any relaxation in punishment for those who pursue education in jail?
Jam Asif Iqbal: Yes, they get remission according to their degree level and grades in that degree. They get relaxation in their punishment ranging from 15 days to 8 months.
THE EDUCATIONIST: What facilities are being provided to prisoners?
Jam Asif Iqbal: We are providing so many facilities including exercise and physical training sessions. Physiologist and psychiatrist also deliver lectures for prisoners. Television and ﬁltered water is available for prisoners in every barrack of the jail. Tailoring courses are provided for children so that they become skilled persons and live as good citizens after completing their imprisonment. Technical courses like plumbing and electrician are running for adult prisoners. TEVTA also offers interest free loans to them upto 100,000 so that they can run their own business after release from prison.
THE EDUCATIONIST: Is there any special facility for women prisoners?
Jam Asif Iqbal: Yes! for women prisoners we are offering beautician courses in collaboration with TEVTA as they provide us female teachers. government of Punjab also deputes female lecturers for women prisoners. Different sports facilities are also provided to prisoners like Volleyball, Ludo, and Carrom Board. Moreover, 25 computers are also available for them.
The Educationist: Is there any library for the prisoners?
Jam Asif Iqbal: Yes! We have a small library in which 1052 books are available. Newspaper is given to those who pay for it.
THE EDUCATIONIST: Did prisoners cast their vote in elections?
Jam Asif Iqbal: Yes, we provide voting facility according to the rules of election Commission of Pakistan. Prisoners cast vote through government Postal Ballet System.
THE EDUCATIONIST: In which crime most of the people are in jail and what you think is the reason behind this?
Jam Asif Iqbal: Here most of the prisoners are kept for crimes like fraud, thief, gambling etc. We noticed that all these crimes are because of lack of education and poor guidance. I think we can overcome these crimes through good education and better social environment. We need to focus more on education at grass root level so that our youth will not be distracted and involved in crimes.