Sensory garden inaugurated for the children of the women’s prison
Sindh is the first province to have a law in place for prisons as the provincial government still tries to take progressive initiatives to reform the criminal justice system.
Sindh government spokesperson lawyer Murtaza Wahab said this during the inauguration ceremony of the sensory garden at the early learning center located in the Karachi Women’s Prison.
The Committee for the Welfare of Prisoners (CWP), a public-private initiative of the provincial government, organized the event which saw the participation of various ministries and non-governmental organizations.
The sensory garden aims to provide knowledge of the outside world to children living inside the prison with their mothers. The AMI school collaborated with the CWP to develop the sensory garden.
Wahab, who is also a city administrator and legal adviser to the chief minister, said the enactment of the Prisons and Correctional Facilities Act 2019 is a testament to the provincial government’s sincerity in improving the lives of prisoners. , with the CWP being a model of a legal aid service provider.
He said the government operates a call center to provide free legal advice to all citizens of Pakistan through qualified and trained lawyers. “We must reform the prisoners and try to make them better citizens of society.”
He also said that the rights of prisoners must be respected. âBefore 2019, we had the British law of 1894, the purpose of which was to control the people, to keep them in check and to instill fear in them. After Independence, it had to be amended.
He explained that after serving as legal adviser to the government of Sindh in 2018, the first thing he did was formulate laws for police and prisoner reforms so that they could be improved. . âLaws prioritize the human rights, dignity and well-being of detainees. “
Wahab said the CWP was set up to provide legal assistance to prisoners. He said innocent children living in prison should be provided with a free environment and opportunities for education and training, while children serving sentences for various crimes strive to become good citizens after completing their grades. penalties.
âBetter plans can only be developed through a public-private partnership. We have improved Sindh’s infrastructure, hospitals and justice system for citizens, and this will continue in the future as well. “
Prison Chief Kazi Nazeer Ahmed said: âThe old prison laws passed by the British authorities were deeply punitive in nature and followed a colonial mindset, while we live in an independent country.
Therefore, he said, the old laws should have been repealed with new ones, and the credit for this rests entirely with the government of Sindh, which introduced the new law. Prison authorities are doing their best to implement the newly enacted rules, he added.
Ahmed said the laws of 1894 and 1900 were for the pharaonic regime of the British Raj, under which prisoners were separated from society and punished by being handcuffed, which was extremely cruel. This law was therefore repealed.
âWe have also made many improvements through a public-private partnership, and the Sensory Garden is one of the best examples,â he added. He pointed out that the conditions in the prisons had been very bad before 2008, with the salaries of officers and staff being low and performance not being good.
Nasira Faiz, Focal Point of AMI Schools, said: âChildren incarcerated with their mothers suffer from many different problems, and there are few opportunities for them compared to children living outside.
She said the AMI school, with the support of different donors, tried to create a platform where children residing in the prison could feel the meaning of life outside and learn the importance of different ethics. general in a friendly environment.
CWP secretary lawyer Haya Emaan Zahid said the committee provides legal assistance to vulnerable and needy prisoners, adding that it provides assistance to nearly 2,500 prisoners each year.
She explained how inmates can keep their children with them in prison until they are nine years old. The CWP has identified these children as being at high risk and is working to fill this gap through preschool learning centers operating in women’s prisons in Karachi and Hyderabad since 2015, she added.
She also said that AMI School is one of the advisory board members of the Early Learning Center and has just launched the initiative.