Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Women Prisoners: A Case Study of Central Jail, Kot Lakhpat, Lahore

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Women Prisoners: A Case Study of Central Jail, Kot Lakhpat, Lahore

Article excerpt

Abstract

Despite having kaleidoscopic culture, discrimination of womenfolk is quite common in Pakistan even today - seemingly fulfilling an undeclared agenda that women should be restricted from having liberty, education, economic exposure, and rights. But going behind the bars makes them even more vulnerable and adds to their exploitation because of the stigma they carry for whole of their lives. This descriptive research deals with the crucial issue of women prisoners in Pakistan; identify the factors that lead the involvement of women in criminal activities; and looks into the condition of women prisoners in jail through qualitative methodology.

Key words: Women prisoners, Centrul Jail Kot Lakhpat, discrimination, criminal activities, courts

Introduction

Pakistan is a multi-cultural society practicing various traditions and customs, yet discriminatory attitude towards womenfolk is quite common. It seems an undeclared agenda that women should be restricted from having liberty, education, economic exposure, and rights. "Women in Pakistan, especially in the rural areas, are often made targets of retaliation in disputes between men"(Mittra& Kumar, 2004, p. 52). In a country, where women can be killed in the name of honor of man, practices like Wani, Swara, Karo-kari, Wata-satta and marriage with Quran still continue. As punishment, shaving of head and eye brows, mutilation of nose and ears, acid throwing, sexual abuse, and rape of women are also in practiced, though extremely under-reported. They are generally confronting with a deplorable condition. But the women once go behind the bars, become extremely vulnerable and their level of exploitation raises manifold because of the stigma they carry for whole of their life. There are some important factors, which lead the involvement of women in criminal activities: a) women are so much dependent and under psychological pressure of their male fellows that they can easily compel or drag them; b) on the pretext of love and loyalty of women for their male fellows like husband, father, brother, lover, or relatives they can be emotionally exploited and then involved; c) security agencies and police show latitude towards women and generally due to prevailing social norms they do not search or check them while they are roaming around or travelling in vehicles; so criminal elements exploit this latitude; d) and courts in Pakistan usually take a lenient view of the crimes committed by women as compared to men. Consequently bail applications of women usually get favorable response from the courts. Due to these factors, a new trend has been emerging in Pakistan of using women in criminal activities like fraud, theft, narcotics, murder and kidnapping for ransom.

After arrest, the alleged women usually confront abusive treatment, behaviors, and environment during police investigation, case trials, and in lockups. Similarly during the imprisonment and after the release from prison they remain disadvantaged socially, psychologically, morally, and economically. By going through this long and expensive legal procedure, their dependency on male fellows further increases. Most of these women were already victims of neglect and frustration, and they turned into socially excluded individuals. So it will be investigated that why women commit the crimes. Moreover, the challenges they face after the release from the prison and their social integration will also be looked upon.

For preciseness, the paper is divided into following parts. In the part of 'Woman Prisoners', definition, ratio and history have been brought forth. In 'Conceptual Framework', different theories of imprisonment are discussed. 'Situational Analysis' has been undertaken to describe the environment of the Jail and condition of its inmates. Then 'Position and Place of a Female in Society' is presented. After that 'Causes of Women's Crimes' are described in the paper. At the end 'Conclusion' is drawn along with suggestions. …

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