Moms in jail, red flags on kids’ data | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: A new report by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights focussed on education status and other development needs of children of women prisoners notes with concern “negligence” on the part of prison officials in certain places to maintain proper and updated data of such children living in child care institutions.
The NCPCR study in 2019-20 covered eight jails, 20 children homes and four hostels in four states — UP, Maharashtra, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. A pilot study was also conducted in Delhi.
“It was observed in Byculla Prison that the children enrolled in home/hostel were not found in the home described in the primary document submitted by the prison authority. They were already transferred to some other CCIs and list was never revised. Similarly, the prison authorities in Bihar were not aware of the children of female inmates above six years of age living outside the prison with their siblings without the supervision of the elders or guardians,” it is highlighted in report.
While conducting the pilot study in Delhi where they covered Tihar and Mandoli jail, the commission found gaps in the existing prison management system. The report notes that there were cases of children placed in hostels without the proper orders of child welfare committee, district authorities or department of social welfare.
The NCPCR in its recommendations to the IG (Prisons) says they must ensure that the children of women prisoners are only admitted to CCIs on the orders of CWC. The commission also recommends revision of the list of children living in protective custody of state run/administered children homes and hostels. NCPCR chief Priyank Kanoongo asserted that “jail authorities are duty bound to provide education and other facilities as per the law and the jail manuals must be reworked accordingly.”
NCPCR also shared a specific case where two children with cerebral palsy of a woman prisoner were lodged in a home in Pune that doesn’t cater to their special needs. They haven’t been enrolled in schools too. NCPCR on March 31 wrote to Pune DM to shift them to a home exclusively meant for children with special needs. It has sought a report in 10 days.
The report also brings into focus that even though the SC guidelines lay down that every child of a woman prisoner should be allowed to meet the mother once a week, most children homes and hostels covered during the study have highlighted that the visits are irregular. Some child care institutions arrange the meetings periodically ranging from once a month to once in three months and on festivals.
Times View: Every convict has certain inalienable human rights. Also, let us not forget that the child too has a right to see his jailed mother. The Supreme Court guidelines must be followed to ensure a more humane prison system.

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