Saturday, September 3, 2016

Guide to remand life; the golden rule,





Guide to remand life; the golden rule
When a person is remanded in custody it means that they will be detained in a prison until a later date when a trial or sentencing hearing will take place. The majority of prisoners on remand have not been convicted of a criminal offence and are awaiting trial following a not guilty plea. This is completely different to sending a person to jail. That’s when a person is convicted and the convict has been handed down a jail term as the punishment.. But recently I saw in the TV on regular basis that many are remanded for few days and then granted bail probably to show them this is what will happen if you try to influence the outcome of investigation etcetera by coercing witnesses, I suppose, there could be other reasons too. Probably to negate the influence the  negative role models have on our youth like even if you are highly connected you still have to suffer if you engage in anti social activities, even if you are only a suspect.
However my intention here is not to examine the pros and cons of remanding suspects but to to see how the remand system works and if possible write few guide lines so that life on the other side is not as bad as the afterlife because the religions have muddled our minds as to what is waiting there for us on the other side of the curtain.
I have never been to remand prison or the proper one  except for three occasions, first  was  when I went to see one of our teachers who has master minded an acid throwing on a person and again to see a school friend turned politician who has been remanded  for keeping a fatal weapon in his possession. Other than these occasions I had the privilege of being  taken to a maximum security prison facility in USA when I was undergraduate in Naval Wae collage ,  during an Informational Program Visit (IPV); American fondness for acronyms,   but that does not count, I suppose.
Since I don’t have the prerequisite experience anyway to write few guidelines I thought of talking  to a acquaintance of mine, a school mate really,  who I remember has  been to remand couple of times and has  experienced remand life . I was in luck and got more than I bargained for, for  he appeared at my place with some fish on this Saturday and besides he has not only been to remand several times but has gone to jail for three months spell as well.
Since my intention was to write about the remand life I had a chat with him on his many days in the remand prisons.
Apparently in remand you don’t have to wear jumpers, which are only issued to prison inmates one a year. So when one goes to remand he has to carry whatever dress that he wishes to wear in the remand. In case of food  if you can afford it you can get down any food you desire even on daily basis. Sleeping and toilets apparently are  the two most difficult  parts of the daily routine in remand life.
As you go in on the first day  you are assigned to a one cell and you will always stay in that. You are mustered at a certain time in the night  everyday and locked in with another 8 cell mates until morning , when the guards come in and take you out. In the crowded cell apparently there are no toilets, and you have to keep a plastic bag or similar instrument in the cell in case call of the nature come knocking for either requirements.
For personal hygiene a small cake of soap and a bottle lid full of coconut oil is distributed every Saturday. The soap unfortunately doesn’t last even a one shirt if you attempt to wash cloths with it, it seems. You are let out into open of the compound until lunch time and then again around three o clock when jailors come and let you out to the outside but within the compound.
 For the smokers other than cigarettes smuggled in through various methods there is a special type of cigarette made inside the prison complex called ‘local’. It is made of grounded white tobacco leaves wrapped into a cylindrical shape with a piece of newspaper. And apparently people get hooked into this, and many would exchange regular cigarettes for locals because they like it more. So this is one fact president has to keep in mind when he increase price of cigarettes beyond the purchasing power of people( 90% tax speech made at Maharagama yesterday) . Government should be mindful that there are many substitutes that not only will wipe out the state income completely but even increase the smoking habit because of the added kick of doing something illegal at much lesser rate.
Notwithstanding all the restrictions and  stringent regulations however in the remand and the prisons there is enough money in circulations to purchase and if you have a source outside you can always get down more money and having money inside of course makes your life more comfortable it seems.
Most interesting snippet that I heard from my friend is the making of roti in the prison. The bread included in the ration in prison regularly consist of bread loaf that is between half and full one. And the deep inside of the loaf remains unbaked core probably because of not enough heat in the oven  frequently. And a gang collects those unbaked parts from inmates who don’t eat that part and make roti that is not the part of the prison meal. This  roti is in huge demand and  sold to prisoners who like it.

Another interesting fact that disappoint us is as would expect  after watching  movies like sagarayak meda there are no Dons in the prisons. They are all equal inside it seems and money like anywhere else rule the roost. The golden rule is gold rules.

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