Thursday, June 02, 2022

Punjab now has a mobile app you can report problems on when meeting jailed loved ones

Visitors who come to see their jailed loved ones wait in the premises of Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. — AFP/File
Visitors who come to see their jailed loved ones wait in the premises of Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. — AFP/File

  • Punjab Prisons introduces mobile app to put you in touch with authorities over problems in meeting jailed loved ones.
  • It can be used by Apple and Android users.
  • Punjab Prisons IG says people aren't facilitated by prison staff while visiting loved ones.

LAHORE: If you have a loved one in jail in Punjab, you can now use a mobile app to register any complaint or problems you face in the process of meeting your friends or relatives who are in prison.

The Punjab Prisons has labelled the app 'Prisons Complaint System'. It can be downloaded by both Apple and Android users.

The idea is to facilitate people with relatives in prisons, what the Punjab Prisons Information Technology Board calls an effort to bring transparency to the prisons system.

It is meant to be an "integrated public distress redressal" to connect all prisons in Punjab for timely resolution of shortcomings faced by the people whose relatives and loved ones are in prisons.

"It will work as a correspondence medium between the people and the department," as per the description provided on the app.

Public isn't always facilitated by prison staff: Punjab prisons IG

Speaking to, Punjab Prisons Inspector-General Mirza Shahid Baig said that it is the first time in history that such an initiative has been taken for the facilitation of prisoners and those who visit them.

"People don't know in what conditions their relatives are living in in prisons," he said.

"There are cases when people visit prisoners, but they aren't facilitated properly by the prison staff," the IG said.

With this application, the public can lodge a complaint and bring the behaviour of prison staff or the inconveniences they faced while trying to meet their imprisoned relatives to the notice of the authorities, he added.

According to Baig, the other concerns people can seek assistance for include the health issues of prisoners, their treatment by staff in jails, provision of necessities and production in courts.

"We are going towards transparency by connecting the dots to identify and highlight the issues of prisoners and those who visit them and to make the system better than ever," he said.

The IG said that there is a separate complaint redressal mechanism and complaint management and monitoring cell reserved for prisons affairs that will receive the complaints lodged through the application and look into them.

Briefing more about the complaint management cell, Baig said that even prisoners can complain to this cell through phone booths set up within the prisons.

"We have provided codes in the phone booths for complaints of different natures," he said.

Limitations of the mobile app

When asked if a person based in any other province can benefit from the application, IG Baig said that the application can be accessed "all over the world."

However, when he was informed that this correspondent couldn't sign up on the application with a CNIC from Karachi, he said that there may be a glitch in the system due to which the application couldn't be accessed from Sindh.