File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Alipore Women's Jail, Kolkata: Prisoners' Management

Alipore Women's Correctional Home is the only women's correctional home in West Bengal. Around 315 women prisoners reside in this correctional home. There are 1818 women prisoners (including 315 prisoners of Alipore Women's Correctional Home) in West Bengal in toto in different correctional homes, where they live in separate enclosures. Some women live with their children. A lady officer is posted as Superintendent in Alipore Women's Correctional Home.

Separation with their children, partner and family members affect the women prisoners mentally and psychologically and they need extra sensitivity from the superintendent and other staff of the correctional home particularly in respect of their diet and physical and mental health. The scars of their exploitation as couriers by drug dealers and barons remain etched in their minds.

The construction of more numbers of women's correctional homes will benefit the women's prisoners immensely as in other correctional homes where both male and female prisoners are accommodated, the women prisoners have to remain secluded and confined in a limited area.

In West Bengal jails and prisons are called as correctional homes. The common problems for women in prisons generally originate from both the lives they led before their imprisonment as well their actual incarceration. Women arrive in prisons usually with a different set of problems than male prisoners do.

Most prisons do not take into account the importance of the mother-child relationship in designing policy for women in prison. Coordinating visits to the prison and support services with child welfare agencies, providing special visiting areas, developing effective parenting classes, and developing community corrections programs for mothers and their children are examples of these innovations.

Termination of parental rights also affects prison mothers. Advocates of women in prison and their children argue that family reunification, rather than termination of the mother's parental rights, should be a priority of correctional policy for women prisoners.

Problems faced by Women Prisoners

Women constitute a vulnerable group in prisons. Although there are considerable variations in their situation in different countries, a number of factors are common to most.

These include:
  • The challenges they face in accessing justice on an equal basis with men in many countries;
  • The scars of their exploitation as couriers by drug dealers and barons remain etched in their minds;
  • Their vulnerable condition during pregnancy;
  • Their disproportionate victimization from sexual or physical abuse prior to imprisonment;
  • Inadequate or substandard physical and mental health care often as a result of domestic violence and sexual abuse;
  • Their high level of drug or alcohol dependency;
  • The extreme distress imprisonment causes to women, which may lead to mental health problems or exacerbate existing mental disabilities;
  • Sexual abuse and violence against women in prison;
  • The high likelihood of having caring responsibilities for their children, families, and others;
  • Gender-specific healthcare needs that cannot adequately be met;
  • Both pre and post-release stigmatization, victimization, and abandonment by their families;
  • The pain of living separately from their children and partners;
  • The pain of getting separated from their children after they attain 6 years of age;
  • The fear of falling prey again to the shenanigans of the drug dealers and barons after release from the prison.
  • Lack of proper rehabilitation after their release;
  • Failure to engage good advocates to pursue their cases and defend them in courts due to poor economic condition.
  • Lack of vocational or educational programs and an unsafe prison environment.

Although some male offenders might face somewhat similar problems, the problems faced by women in prisons differ significantly in terms of the effects on the women and their lives both in and out of prison.

Management of Women Prisoners

It is a fact that a good number of the inmates of Alipore Women's Correctional Home, Kolkata come from the poor and marginalized sections of society, where the education of women is not the norm. There are around 315 inmates in Alipore Women's Correctional Home at present. During the review of the case table, which is done by the Superintendent and the Chief Controller regularly, the inmates are always asked whether they have been able to engage an advocate and in case they communicate that they cannot afford one, they are always offered the services of a government advocate through the District Legal Services Authority. The case table is reviewed with the same care and diligence even when a convicted person comes as an inmate to the Correctional Home.

They are also counseled about the scope of appeal to Higher Courts. In Alipore Women's Correctional Home, every possible effort is made to ensure that lack of legal representation does not cause any delay in the delivery of criminal justice.

Alipore Women's Correctional Home has an OPD under the supervision of two Medical Officers and three visiting Specialist Doctors. Moreover, any case that requires treatment that is beyond the health care facilities available within the Correctional Home is referred to outside hospitals in Kolkata like SSKM, Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, Sambhunath Pandit Hospital and Chittaranjan Shishu Sadan etc.

All inmates, upon being received in the Correctional Home are compulsorily checked by the Medical Officers within 24 hours of their arrival. Women inmates have greater primary and gender-specific health care needs as compared to their male counterparts. Moreover, at any time, on an average there are more than 20 children residing in the Correctional Home with their mothers.

The Pregnant and Nursing Mothers too need to be provided ante-natal and post-natal care. Other than the Medical Officers, there are NGOs as well who provide psychological counseling and family counseling to such inmates to ensure their mental well-being. As the only Correctional Home in West Bengal meant exclusively for women, Alipore Women's Correctional Home is also the home of a number of women who are HIV positive and are under constant treatment and monitoring of Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine.

The food that is cooked in the kitchen, equipped with a gas oven, is kept palatable as well as nutritional. Children, old inmates, sick inmates and others whom the Medical Officers consider eligible for medical diet are provided with special diet. Cooking is done by the female inmates. All attempts are made to keep the cooking environment clean and hygienic. Special menus are served on days of festivals.

Male officers do not enter inside the correctional home alone even if they have any duty to attend to there. If a male officer has an unavoidable duty inside the correctional home premises, he is compulsorily accompanied by a female warder or a female officer. The keys of the wards are kept with the female warders during the day, and after the wards and the enclosure are locked up at night, the keys are handed over to the Chief Controller till the next morning for opening of the wards. The inmates of the Correctional Home are provided with a looking glass, one in each ward, and combs. The Hindu married inmates are also provided with vermillion, if desired by them.

Remissions are granted to the inmates as per the provisions of the West Bengal Correctional Services Act, 1992. All the inmates (except those convicted under the NDPS Act) sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for any period exceeding three months are given remission at the rate of four days per month. A female inmate who has attained 45 years of age is entitled to ordinary remission at the rate of 6 days per month.

In addition, special remissions, as admissible under the rules are also provided by the Superintendent. Convicts are also granted parole as per order of ADG and IG of Correctional Services, West Bengal. Inmates have the facility of writing letters to relatives and friends. They have the right to have interview, generally once in a week, for 20 minutes, with relatives and friends.

Alipore Women's Correctional Home has a bakery unit which produces cakes, biscuits, garlic bread, bread and pizzas. A number of inmates work there, who have been trained by top institutes of West Bengal like Taj Bengal and Institute of Hotel Management. Moreover, with the help of NGOs, many inmates of the Correctional Home have been imparted training in stitching, embroidery, candle-making and cultivation of mushroom etc. There is also a sanitary napkin making unit inside the Correctional Home and many inmates have been imparted training in the production of sanitary napkins.

Women inmates have been performing stage performance of "Dance Drama" in public places, not only within the state but also in other states. The primary aim of such endeavors is to enable the women inmates to learn such skills so that they can be rehabilitated post-release and can be engaged in some profession using the skills that they had learnt during their stay in the correctional home. This provides them economic independence and also helps to prevent recidivism to an extent.

Books are issued to the interested inmates from the library for satisfaction of intellectual hunger and development of knowledge. Adult education is imparted by the NGOs or educated inmates. Interested inmates can acquire higher educational qualifications.

Some inmates passed their Secondary Examinations from here. Last year one inmate appeared in Higher Secondary Examination. There are adequate facilities for recreations, games, newspaper reading, and cultural activities for the inmates. Women inmates observe Saraswati Puja, Eid, Durga Puja, International Women's Day and Rabindra Jayanti etc.

The relation between the correctional home and an inmate does not stop the moment her release order is received. During release, the administration always makes sure that somebody has come from her family to take her back. It is the responsibility of the officers of the correctional home to ensure that she reaches her home safely.

However, there have been cases where due to amnesia inmates have been unable to recall their addresses and no family member ever got in touch with the correctional home to take them away after release. In such unfortunate cases as well, after the best efforts of the correctional home officers fail to trace their family members out, they were sent, through proper procedure to the safe custody of a government home through the intervention of the Social Welfare Department of Government of West Bengal.

There has also been a case where an inmate, who was totally paralyzed in the lower section of her body, was not received by any member of her family after her release. In this case, through the intervention of the Social Welfare Department of Government of West Bengal, a safe refuge in a government home was arranged for her.

In Alipore Women's Correctional Home some children live with their mothers or grandmothers. While dealing with them, the guidelines issued by the Honourable Supreme Court of India regarding children living with their mothers in Correctional Homes in the case of R.D. Upadhyay vs the State of A.P. and Ors dated 13.04.2006, are strictly followed in this correctional home.

While looking after the children it is kept in mind that they are non-prisoner inmates of the correctional home. They are not only provided with special medical diet, the correctional home also has an informal schooling system for the children run by an NGO, and the school-house is not only the site of conducting classes, but also has toys and a children's library to ensure that the healthy mental growth of the children is not hampered. There is a "Shishu Alay", an ICDS Centre, run by Social Welfare Department of the Government of West Bengal for the children of the inmates of the Correctional Home.

The entire administration and management of the correctional home, based firmly on the provisions of the West Bengal Jail Code Jail Code, West Bengal Correctional Services Act, 1992 and various orders and guidelines of the government and the courts, runs on an in-depth study of the female psychology. The officers and staff of this correctional home make sincere efforts for the educational, moral, cultural and vocational development and safety and security of the prisoners along with enforcement of discipline amongst them.

Women in prisons are a vulnerable to abuse and both physical and mental problems. The presence of children with women prisoners increases the responsibilities of the prison staff. The handling of pregnant and lactating mother needs to be done with more sensitivity and care by the prisons.

The emotional and psychological wellbeing of the women prisoners and their children should be ensured by the prison authorities. There is only one women's correctional home in West Bengal located in Kolkata. There are around 1818 women prisoners in the correctional homes of West Bengal. More women's correctional homes with proper infrastructure and medical facilities are required to be set up to look after the welfare of women prisoners properly.

  1. Report of the Superintendent of Alipore Women's Correctional Home.
  2. What are Common Problems for Women in Prison? S. Ashraf.
  3. Prisons: Prisons for Women; Problems and Unmet Needs in the Contemporary Women's Prison.
  4. Handbook for prison managers and policymakers on Women and Imprisonment; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
  5. Reports of Superintendents of 60 Correctional Homes of West Bengal.

Written By: Md. Imran Wahab,
IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

Also Read:

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly