IAS Gyan

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Context: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has drafted the 'Model Prisons Act 2023,' to replace British-era laws.


  • The current Prisons Act 1894 is a colonial law that was designed to keep criminals in custody and enforce discipline and order in prisons.
    • It has no provision for the reform and rehabilitation of prisoners, nor does it address the modern challenges and needs of prison management.
  • The MHA recognised these lacunae and decided to review and revise the outdated act in tune with contemporary correctional ideology.

Model Prisons Act 2023

  • It was finalised by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) in consultation with states’ prison authorities, correctional experts, and other stakeholders.


  • To provide a comprehensive framework for prison administration that focuses on the reformation and rehabilitation of inmates.
  • Integrates the use of technology in prison management, such as video conferencing, biometric identification, CCTV surveillance, etc.


  • Security assessment and segregation of prisoners based on their risk level and behaviour.
  • Individual sentence planning for each prisoner to identify their needs and goals for rehabilitation.
  • Grievance redressal mechanism for prisoners to voice their complaints and seek remedies.
  • Prison development board to oversee the planning, development, and maintenance of prisons.
  • Attitudinal change towards prisoners to treat them with dignity and respect.
  • Separate accommodation for women prisoners, transgender inmates, and other vulnerable groups.
  • Physical and mental well-being of prisoners through health care, education, vocational training, counselling, etc.
  • Reformation and rehabilitation of inmates through various programmes and activities that help them develop skills, values, and attitudes for successful reintegration into society.
  • Provision of parole, furlough, remission, and premature release to prisoners to incentivise good conduct and facilitate their transition to freedom.
  • Punishment for prisoners and jail staff for use of prohibited items like mobile phones inside prison premises.


  • The Model Prisons Act 2023 is expected to serve as a guiding document for states for adoption in their jurisdiction. It will also help India fulfil its obligations under various international conventions and treaties on human rights and prison standards. It is hoped that the new act will bring about a positive change in the lives of prisoners and society at large.

Must Read Articles:

Prison Reforms: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/prison-reforms

Support for Poor Prisoners: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/support-for-poor-prisoners


Q. Prisons are meant to serve as institutions of correction and rehabilitation for offenders, but they often face many challenges in fulfilling this role. Some of these challenges include overcrowding, violence, lack of resources, corruption, human rights violations, and recidivism. How can we address these issues and reform the prison system to make it more effective and humane?