The Times of India has a story today about how rapists and alleged rapists are treated especially badly in jail:
If one goes to jail on murder charges, he might gain respect from fellow inmates. But, if he is in the prison as an accused or a convict for rape, then from the time he enters the jail, his life is hell. Under the unwritten code he is subject to mental, physical and sexual assault. The first welcome comes from the jail staff which gives him a sound thrashing.
Then, in the barracks, the prisoners individually and in groups beat up the new inmate at random.
I have three questions here, the first one deliberately naive:
1. Do prisoners lose all their rights when they are imprisoned? Aren’t prison authorities supposed to protect them from other prisoners, or does anarchy reign in what should be the most secure places in our land?
2. My first reaction on reading the story was to think, Who cares about a convicted rapist? Fuck him. But the ToI story points out that even undertrials accused of rape face this treatment. If our legal system treats an accused as innocent until proven guilty, as it should, shouldn’t the prison system take that into account?
3. Isn’t it amazing that this is actually a revenue stream for cops? Consider how the ToI piece ends:
Even the rich are not spared under the prisoner’s code for rapists. An accused who was released recently from the Sabarmati Central Jail told TOI that even Sajal Jain, the prime accused in the Bijal Joshi gang rape case, had to go through punishment under this code. His family had to pay protection money to prevent further harassment.