Ahmedabad: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Gujarat Government to ensure jail inmates are regularly screened for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS following reports of a high number of TB cases in Surat central prison.
The NHRC has specifically asked the Director-General (Prisons) in Gujarat to especially screen the Surat jail inmates every six months for TB and HIV/AIDS and provide timely treatment to them.
It has also suggested to increase staff strength of various personnel in the Lajpore Central Prison (Surat), including the hospital, besides filling up the existing vacancies at the earliest.
The NHRC also recommended to the State Government should consider commutation of sentences of terminally ill patients on a priority basis. For commuting the sentence, the government should consider all the cases as provided under Section 433 of the Criminal Procedure Code and not just the cases that fall under Section 433-A.
This follows a visit by an NHRC team, led by Jyotika Kalra, for a spot assessment of the facilities in the prison. The visit was in the wake of a magisterial inquiry report observing that there were complaints of several inmates having TB and lack of medical care. This, in turn, was revealed during inquiry in the death of a 21-year-old undertrial prisoner due to pulmonary TB.
The inmate was healthy at the time of entry into the prison on April 27, 2019 and died on July 15, last year, the NHRC stated in a press release.
The Commission said focus should be on the initial health screening of every inmate at the time of his admission to the jail as prescribed by the NHRC. Besides the ECG and diabetes tests at the time of initial screening, the multi-drug resistant inmates should be kept separate from non-drug-resistant inmates.