SOPs for operation of borstal institutions

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LAHORE: The Punjab government has instructed the inspector general of prisons to implement the revised standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the operation of borstal institutions to ensure that the juvenile prisoners be treated in line with the international best practices.

The SOPs shared by the Punjab Home Department to the IG Prisons stress that the overall environment of borstal institutions shall be different from ordinary prisons. Borstal Institutions, to as maximum extent as possible, shall be operated in a manner similar to boarding schools.

The SOPs stress that the prisons’ staff be provided special training, given different types of titles to present them as handlers and not prisons’ staff. They will also not wear the routine uniform of the prisons department. The walls and doors within the borstal institutions be painted in such bright colours as were common in good private schools and boarding houses. The inmates having moral and behavioural issues be placed under the supervision of psychologists.

The SOPs stress that the juvenile prisoners be provided cots/ beds with bedding, writing table and a chair, where they must read for an hour before going to bed. They should have their school bags as well as different types of books and reading material. There shall be a well-furnished and well-equipped central library in every borstal institution.

The superintendents shall try to place the prisoners of the same age group and physical growth in barracks and in no case relatively older and physically strong prisoners be grouped with relatively young and weak prisoners. The habitual/ repeat and nonhabitual/ first time offenders shall not be placed together in barracks.

The SOPs stress that all juvenile prisoners be provided formal education and vocational training in the field of their choice.

Acknowledgement: Published in Dawn News on 17th May 2024.
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