Pijush Hazarika, the minister of social justice and empowerment in Assam, has given proprietors of private rehabilitation institutions three months to provide the convicts with basic amenities including sanitary living quarters and routine medical checkups.
He also considered providing skill training at taxpayer expense for rehabilitated convicts from such facilities.
The minister visited a private rehabilitation centre in Guwahati last week and was horrified by the conditions there. On Saturday, he met with the proprietors of the centre and the appropriate authorities to discuss the issues these facilities face.
At the meeting, the minister of social justice and empowerment gave the property owners explicit instructions to provide the bare minimum in terms of amenities for the convicts.
“If any centre has to be closed down after three months, the inmates will be provided accommodation at government-run facilities,” the minister added. He also cautioned the center’s proprietors against closing quickly in response to a government mandate since doing so would put the detainees in danger.
Hazarika also suggested skill training for reformed offenders and stated that he would advocate for funding for training 1,000 such individuals in the state budget for the next year.
Accommodation for up to four people in a typical-sized room, one bathroom for every five to seven inmates, wholesome food, and routine health checks are all amenities that must be provided.
Hazarika also supported a system in which any rehabilitation centre had to get authorization from the local municipal corporation and the health department before opening.