Need for digitisation, sharing of prisons’
LAHORE: Participants in a seminar held on the launch of the UN-backed Prison Management Information System (PMIS) in 20 prisons in Punjab on Wednesday stressed the need for digitisation of criminals’ data and sharing of it with all the departments concerned to easily net outlaws and check their activities.
The PMIS has been initiated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in league with the Punjab prisons department.
It was started in Lahore’s Camp Jail in 2014 as a pilot project by the UNODC, providing software, hardware and training to staff. The system is now being replicated in 19 other prisons in the province. UN officials said 200 computers and 20 servers, biometric systems and networking included the around Rs10 million package.
Basic training in PMIS has been conducted for prisons staff at the National Academy for Prisons Administration (NAPA), for a better understanding and implementation of the system in their respective prisons. Training sessions were also conducted for senior prisons officials of NAPA.
PMIS is designed to facilitate the prisons’ administration in operations such as admission and release of prisoners, FIRs, warrants’ administration, prisoners’ housing, daily court production and medical treatment, court decisions, medical treatment, visitors’ and sentence management, and remission and appeal management for the convicted.
Other miscellaneous subjects include prison offense management, cash ledger, belongings’ management, children’s log.
The system also includes a reporting module for facilitating the reports specified for presentation and utilisation at different levels.
Speaking on the occasion, Additional Secretary Home (Prisons) Asad Ullah Faiz said the provincial government had approved Rs19 million for replicating the system in 19 prisons in the province. It would help the authorities keep an eye on criminals within and outside jails.
He said the government was fully aware of the importance of information technology for effective governance. And in view of this, a serious effort was being made to digitise and accumulate the data of police, prosecution department, forensic science laboratory, prisons and judiciary so as to give them access to criminals within no time in case of any eventuality.
UNODC Office-in-charge Anne Bergenstrom said it was now time to move forward towards digitisation of prisons’ data. She apprised the participants of the steps UNODC had taken for the capacity building of the Punjab prisons department that included more than 17 training sessions for officials on 17 specialised modules, training of trainers and draft prisons rules.
She acknowledged the support of the government of Denmark and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), USA, for the initiative.
The seminar was attended by Prisons IG Mian Farooq Nazeer, DIG Malik Mubashar, additional sessions judges, prosecutors, jail wardens and lawyers.