INCARCERATION IN PAKISTAN*

Poverty & Prisons

We are a country of 180 Million.

The prison system in Pakistan is state owned, corrupt and dysfunctional. It demonstrates a manifestation of the breakdown of the rule of law.

In Pakistan for example, the poverty rate is 50%. Unemployment stands at 7% with substantial under-employment. Crime is rampant in society.

A System Of No

There is an acute shortage of probation and parole officers. There are no systematic programs to rehabilitate released prisoners.

No private public investment in establishing an effective probation regime.

There are no alternatives to imprisonment for petty crimes, such as fines, community service, community confinement or mental health and drug treatment.

There are also no provisions for free legal aid to those who cannot afford it.

Destructive Cycle

Recidivism combined with poverty and mass incarceration is anther menace. The impact cannot be measured in dollars alone.

These ex-offenders, their families and communities suffer not only from the effects of their crimes but also a criminal justice system that is ill-equipped to help them properly re-enter society after they've served their time, advocates claim.

Homecomings can be uncomfortable for their victims as well, who often live in the same communities as their victimizers.

Recidivism Creates Crime

Many of these former inmates -- most of who live in or come from low-income communities -- struggle to find employment, shake addictions and avoid criminal associations.

With few job prospects, family pressures and often a lack of marketable skills, many ex-offenders backslide.

A large number will be sent back to prison on technicalities, such as breaking curfew or testing positive for alcohol or drugs. Others will commit new crimes.

Wheels Of Justice

As of August 2011, there were 1,134,313 cases pending in the country’s lower courts.

Civil cases can take anywhere between ten to twenty years before a judgment, while criminal cases can take more than five years.

With an ever increasing caseload, and the accused rarely brought to court on time, under-trial prisoners form the vast majority of Pakistan’s prisoners.

Jail Without Trial

Moreover, with outdated laws and procedures, bad practices and poor oversight, the criminal justice system is characterized by long detentions without trial.

As a result, prisons remain massively overcrowded.