The government is going to formulate a new law and amend the existing prison rules to turn the country's jails into correction centres, said Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday.
The minister was addressing a programme on the occasion of National Legal Aid Services Day-2018 in the capital's Osmani Memorial Auditorium.
Anisul also said the government has also emphasised facilitating legal assistance to prisoners and to make their rehabilitation process faster.
“Following the prime minister's instructions, we have taken measures to complete trial procedures of prisoners in the shortest possible time,” he said.
“It is the government's prioritised programme to formulate necessary legal framework to reduce sufferings of poor prisoners,” he added.
Pointing to the government's legal assistance programme, he said success of the programme depends on public awareness.
“A part of the country's population is still poor and illiterate. They are not much aware about their legal rights. So, we have to create public awareness about the matter through extensive publicity,” the minister said.
To provide the poor with legal aid at the government's cost, the government formulated the National Legal Aid Services Act and established National Legal Aid Services Organization (NLASO) in 2000, said Anisul.
“Legal aid committees were formed in all 64 districts led by the district and sessions judges. The committees are also working at upazila and union levels. We have a legal aid committee at the apex court too,” he added.
The law minister further said any citizen, especially acid attack victims, widows or those abandoned by their husbands, people languishing in jail without trial, victims of human trafficking, or people who are unable to get justice, are being given legal assistance at the government's cost.
Presided over by Law and Justice Division Secretary ASSM Zahirul Haque, the programme was also addressed, among others, by Senior Secretary of Legislative and Parliamentary Division Mohammad Shahidul Haque and NLASO Director Zafrul Hasan.
Khaleda Akhtar, Dilip Pal and Quaium Bhuiya, who received government legal aid services, shared their experience on how they were benefited.