“Convince people they are merely animals and you can treat them accordingly” – Dean Cavanagh in The Secret Life of the Novel The popular saying mentioned above was made in relation to the elite promoting Darwinism. The elite have always sprung as the prioritized class, swaying their way out despite all the allegations. If one thinks this is not the case, they might have a change of opinion after understanding the dynamics of political figures and their extensive complaints about keeping them without the amenities available to a man of his stature; amenities not available to common man. On the face of it, this might seem perfectly justified – to ask for mercy for your fellow’s safety -but it is not justified to ask for refinement only for the privileged, while the unattended victims are subject to tyranny and injustice in a system that these very officials are responsible, or were responsible to remediate. This becomes a question of rational, especially in the ongoing pandemic of Covid-19; if the outcry of a single person deprived of a few luxuries is enough to put an entire political system and the media on feet, what would happen if 79,603 inmates, who have increased the occupancy level to a whopping 134 percent up until August 2020, pose questions about their right to prohibit torture or inhumane treatment – a right embedded in our very own Constitution of Pakistan in Article 14? A possibility of a riot would not be an understatement indeed. This is not just a fight between the elite and the poverty-stricken. It is a fight for dignity, self-respect, and how the government and relevant departments view prisons as a route to release domination and vengeance and a way of releasing hostility on the criminal. As much as the concept of punishment is prevalent in the prison meshwork, it is absolutely abhorrent to think that this is the only way to fight against crime and the atrocities it follows and to keep the prisoners subjected to torture despite a high number of cases resulting merely from the unprotected and uncivilized prison centers. And, if the need to inflict punishment, in all actuality, is based on tradition, level of knowledge, and social and economic conditions, then the demoralizing situation is no surprise. The Jurisprudence of Correctional Law: Let us view this point from a social and jurisprudential perspective. The theory of Thomas Hobbes of a ‘social contract’ can help to trace the need to punish. As per the proposition, the need for a sovereign arose from the need to protect valuables; property and life. When a man feared for his safety and his chances of drowning in poverty or misery, he decided to contract with someone powerful who would preserve his security. This high-powered source is now whom we call a ruler. Such submission gives right to the sovereign to punish, sabotage, and possibly do whatever must be done to protect the community no matter how grave the results are. A man is subject to his commands for preventive measures. Another acclaimed theory associated with surrender is of John Austin, who believes that we are all answerable to one illimitable body that it is not answerable at all. If the legal system functions effectively, it is due to his orders and his ability to impose sanctions for disobedience. All laws are consequently pictured as commands followed by sanctions; the sole reason why we follow the law. These theories are centuries old, but they help us to identify the fixation on forced subjugation that is present till date. A punisher will go at lengths, being a sovereign, to assure that his word is being obeyed. For this, he may obtrude the harshest threats on the community. The same attitude is found in our prison system, jeopardizing even the slightest chance of reform of the punished himself. The warden might have the false view that he is serving justice to society by punishing the poor, but a reality check would confer that two wrongs cannot intermingle together, stooping to new lows act by act. Nobody wins in this case; the purported “righteous” deludes himself while the offender is treated as nothing more but a “handy scapegoat”. Jurisprudential scrutiny is useful for recognizing the ideology, but greater flaws are found particularly in the system, and every reign of government has remained skeptical about them. The Pakistani Correctional Law and a Comparative Perspective: The lack of interest of the concerned parties is an issue. Pakistan as an independent state started its Reform Movement as early as 1950, but the prolonged pauses after the first committee set for it is questionable, yet not astounding; only 11 committees were set from the period of 1950-2010. Nearly 10 statutes have been “regulating the establishment and management of prisons, the confinement, treatments and transfer of prisoners, the maintenance of discipline amongst them” but none of them have been advocated in the recent years to actually implement these rules in a favorable way for the prisoners. Hygiene and medical issues have resulted in an alarmingly high death toll and series of diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, mental illnesses and now Covid-19. In the span of one or so year, approximately 2500 prisoners have died due to the virus. These deaths are a direct result of failed promises and ignorance of the respective bodies to cater to at least the medical issues first. Various jurisdictions have opted for releasing the inmates on lesser sentences or on the basis of age and overall crime, as they all have acknowledged the fact that prisoners are the most vulnerable when it comes to Covid-19. And with prisoners, the officials and visitors become a victim as well. As per UNODC, 700,000 prisoners have been released globally in this pandemic. Apart from the Covid-19 surge, the Danish prison system overall excels in catering the overcrowding. Each prison there has an attached medical officer who is responsible for the health and diet of the prison. Larger hospitals have a “sick-bay”. If the illness is serious, the inmates are transferred and treated in a proper hospital. Appointing medical officers is a requisite in Pakistan as well. Regardless, in practice, these officers may be incompetent or non-serious. Sickbay and provision as to transfer of prisoners to any hospital, contradictorily, stay nonexistent. There is also no criterion or standard on which these medical officers are appointed. The issue of overcrowding is a transparent one. Detaining the wrongdoers is one thing, detaining suspects over trivial speculations is another and this is where the system starts to collapse. We are aware of the law, and we have a significant amount of statutes, regardless the implementation of the procedures and rules laid down is almost vapid. Compare this to Denmark which only has a single statute, the Criminal Code of 1930, which severs as the sole Criminal penal code for Denmark. The State facilitates disciplinary punishments in form of temporary financial constraints. It strictly illegalizes capital punishment, while the Prisons Act 1984 of Pakistan goes as far as “whipping” an inmate 30 times if he does not conform. A further Clause, Clause 53, instructs how the whipping is supposed to be carried out. The statute implies that a wrong can only be corrected by a greater wrong, and the punishments it states such as the aforementioned, or “hard labor” for example, is a good way to relinquish that wrong. And if Denmark does talk about labor, it is in the positive sense of the word. The Code proposes vocational opportunities that are readily on table for the inmates. The Code further recognizes that a person must not be left astray when he commits a crime. No matter how long the sentence, he does have to go back to his social circle and function as a normal citizen in his everyday routine. He has to work and train, or continue his education. To release an offender physically after barring him from all the necessities he was used to it is not enough. To release him mentally is the main code to crack, something that the Danish penal system has highly acknowledged. The system of bars and cages is brushed aside and replaced by workshops. Training courses range from farming to mechanical or architecture work. The stipulating factor behind this stands to be the pay inmates get for the work pulled off, in addition to offering them leisure time and promoting contribution in the well-constructed clubs, libraries etc. Denmark is not the only humane state flourishing. UK has demonstrated brilliance with their statutes as well, in particular Prison Act 1952, Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Per the latter, each prisoner has a legal right to “spend between 30 min and an hour outside in the open air each day”. The prisons also provide courses which allow inmates to acquire new studious skills from using a computer or understanding basic mathematical concepts. Most courses lead to qualifications that are recognized by employers outside prison, such as GCSEs or NVQs. Inmates may be able to do a distance learning course, e.g. Open University. Many inmates get the chance to work while carrying out their sentence – making clothes, mastering interior work, electrical engineering, and more. This is done in the prison workshops and is normally paid work. The Prison Act 1952 of the UK requires an Annual Report to be submitted, consisting of the statement of the accommodation of each prison and the highest and lowest number of prisoners confined therein. Statistics of repeat offenders, juvenile offenders, offenders by age, types of offenders, and so on are available on record and on the internet, open for people around the globe. These detailed reports help the governments or commissions to retain information that can be useful in minimizing the risk of offences committed. It also records the pace of offences committed. Reforms: Similar reforms have been suggested for Pakistani prisons. The Section 4 of the Prisoners Act does provide for the need to keep “a register of prisoners admitted”, but this is hardly ever retained. The only statistic one can find is already worrisome; the relevant information being how much the prisons are overflowing. There is no record of the actual practices maintained in the prison system. Even if not explicitly or entirely in this context, recommendation has been made to keep data entries of the prisoners and offenders as definite evidence. The data of each hearing needs to be maintained. Well-reserved files must also include the duration spent my each prisoner. The data must also incorporate trial hearings. The extremely low number of trials being held against each offender is troublesome, when in fact there is no need of trials in the first place. An effective parole system has been proven to show great results with regards to number of prisoners being sufficiently handled or even less than the capacity offers. Sweden serves an impeccable standard by hiring volunteers for parole checking, who in turn get familiarized with the state’s law. Pakistan could adopt a similar provision. As a matter of fact, Pakistan does have relevant statutes dedicated to probation only, but the implementation has not been prominent enough. If it had, there would have been a significant decline in the number of inmates. Probation facilities can be provided single-handedly or by commissions. Instead of waiting for the trials, simple commissions can be set to review an offender’s record and state of mind, deducing whether he is fit to be released. A strict assessment would need to be drawn for such analysis. The commissions can even work this out through technological means, such as video conferencing or computerized tests. The commission set can take assistance of a psychiatrist to examine the mental state of the offender better. If there is a chance that the offender is not ready to be released, rehabilitative measures can be noted. An area where Pakistan even in the 21st century is far behind is the idea of rehabilitation, and this is eminent in Pakistan’s prison system. When the supposition of punishment becomes the apparatus to control, it is not startling that the inmates are inclined to sense self loathe and mortification for the rest of their lives, being looked down upon as criminal even if their alleged negligence is not proved on strong grounds. As much as it might come as a liberal and flabbergasting idea, these people are in dire need of mental health facilities as much as the local citizens are. Provincial Governments need to shift their focus from deterrence to rehabilitation. A major problem that is being overlooked is to provide “facilities that are needed for a normal person to become productive member of the society”. The respected bodies need to maintain equilibrium between people behind the bars and outside the bars, to make sure that their productivity is not ceased and even the most minimal point of repetition of offences is scraped off. To keep prisons under Provincial domain rather than Federal is a misfortune too. Since all Provinces have incompatible laws from each other, it causes the chance of discrepancy. The starting point for the relevant bodies could be to hire counselors for comprehending the detainee’s dilemma to commit offences. The trend needs to be noted, literally and figuratively; does the commitment of offence have any relation with their financial state? Would they be willing to come to go against the law repeatedly if they have no other option? These counselors could further provide reports of how the offenders function mentally and the emerging triggers of crime in Pakistan. A one-on-one session weekly can work as a source for the inmates to feel the sense of engagement too instead of deterrence, because a supposedly criminal mind needs to be treated not in a horrible way but ways that are effective. The counselors can be helpful for the inmates as well as for record purposes, on which the concerned committees can work on to minimize the risk of crime. Apart from counselors, psychiatrists can be allocated to each prison. The idea is practically alien amongst these people, but such allocation can produce positive results. A corresponding scheme, such as that of the ‘safe space’ system can be adopted, where psychiatrists arrange meetings in groups to discuss the mental health of inmates. The idea has been adopted by Denmark, which provides a chief-psychiatrist to each prison. A world-wide issue rampant in the prison systems is the lack of employment as an aftermath of having been stamped as a criminal. In US, approximately 5 million prisoners are subject to unemployment, and unemployment in this sector is higher than the unemployment statistic overall. Similar situation is depicted in Pakistan, more prominently because of the moral restraint of hiring a criminal. Unemployment rate is predicted to increase to a round-off of 6.1% by the end of the year (as per CEIC statistics). A way to tackle this is to offer more employment opportunities to the jailbirds. The idea might seem far-fetched and unattainable in a short period, considering the ostensibly high number of people inside the cells. Yet if the consistency remains in this field, the rate of unemployment can either remain the same or even fall. Such measures can resolve unemployment issues in addition to ensuring protection of jobs so that the offenders do not fall in the same pit again. An inmate must be given the liberty to insinuate their personal suggestions as well. Previous employment of the concerned can come into play. If he is satisfied with his previous occupation, arrangements can be made to get him settled there. Or else, the option of community service can help him explore more opportunities and his area of interest, while he also learns new skills. Similarly, female offenders and their services can also be used in niche markets and basics can be taught to them side-by-side. There will be reluctance, but companies from different industries can hold classes to help them explore any talents or skills they possess. This idea can result in great productivity amongst juvenile offenders. The Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000, despite its attempt, is not an adequate safeguard for child offenders. It speaks volumes about the trials but not much about maintenance of the child. Effectively, provisions must be made to make educational and training facilities mandatory for the children no matter how strict of an offence they commit. Private schools can volunteer to give free lessons. Group of prisons can be allocated to one school or academy each. If such children are homeless, sheltered facilities can be provided when their jail time is over. For such juveniles, more legal aid services need to be provided. Parents of children caught up in jails are often not able to give bail money, or fight for the case. Children can be allotted with voluntary lawyers each to give them information that could help them escape jail. Right to have legal aid is embedded in most statutes of other states, such as the UK.