THE IMPACTS OF OIL POLLUTION IN NIGERIA

INTRODUCTION

            The history of the oil industry may be lost in antiquity. It is however believed to have started in 1859 when Edwin Drake successfully dried an oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania in the United states of America. Drake a retired railroad conductor, using an old steam engine, drilled a well 22 meters deep to the first crude oil.[1]

In Nigeria, oil was discovered in 1956 at Oloibiri in the Niger Delta after half a century of exploration. The discovery was made by Shell BP, at the time the sole concessionaire. Nigeria joined the ranks of oil producers in 1958 when its first oil field came to stream producing 5,100 bpd. After 1960, exploration rights in onshore and offshore areas adjoining the Niger Delta were extended to other foreign companies.[2]

Since the discovery of oil in Nigeria, oil pollution has since become a recurring issue to the oil producing areas in Nigeria. According to shall petroleum Development company of Nigeria (SPDC) Handbook of 1993

The number of registered oil spillage is increasing… Depending on the area, oil pollution could cause adverse impact on people (water quality), vegetable smothering mangrove trees, crops, shore Vegetable and fauna (fish, shellfish, soil fauna). This is demonstrated in several post impact on the recent or old pills sites. The 25 year mystery spill of the trunkline  in the Ejama-Ebubu caused during the civil war is a well-known but not sufficiently studied yet-example.”[3]

This quote by shell petrolum development company of Nigeria (SPDC) highlights to some extent, the degree of development and frustrations that oil production had and is still causing the people of oil and gas-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The assertion also highlights the extent of corporate negligence being perpetrated by the oil and gas based multinational corporations who delight in neglecting their primary social and corporate responsibilities towards the host communities. After several ages since the Ebubu-Ejama (located at Ekele in the Ogoni speaking area of River state, Nigeria) oil spill incident, the spill site still remains at a very bad condition and incredibly unclean.

Available records indicated that, the Niger Delta region of Nigeria experiences on the average 273 oil spills resulting to about 113, barrels of crude oil worth of US$5.64 million spilled annually to oil pollution than anywhere else in the world. These spills and other environmental threats have a tremendously impact on the fundamental rights to existence of the local communities. This is, especially, so when we consider the fact that their normal sources of sustainable livelihoods are continually being disrupted by these structures couple with the lack of the relevant legislative backings required to protect them from these man-made environmental destructions and degradations with their associated social exclusion.[4]

Every individual needs to have definite knowledge of his environment.[5]  Adequate laws should be made also to protect the environment. The event of June 1988 when the country was literally thrown into a state of pandemonium and environmental emergency. Nigerians were woken up by the news of  a dump of toxic and radioactive waste at the small port town of Koko in the Niger Delta. This “consignment of death” was freighted to Nigeria from Pisa in Italy. The fallowt of the toxic waste dump attracted a scurry of activities in the area by local and foreign journalists. This exposed Nigeria’s vulnerability to waste dump and left a question mark on the activities of Nigeria environmental authorities.[6]

Oil spills are a common event in Nigeria.[7] Half of all spills occur due to pipeline and tanker accidents (50%), other causes include sabotage (28%) and oil production operations (21%), with 1% of the spills being accounted for by inadequate or non-functional production equipment. Corrosion of pipelines and tankers is the rupturing or leaking of old production infrastructures that often do not receive inspection and maintenance.[8]

Generally, oil pollution may be caused by blowouts, see pages from submarine, oil wells and efficient discharges at the refinery base.[9] Pollution from these sources are known to have contaminated drinking water, destroyed fish and other marine life and damages agricultural lands and more visibly coastal amenities such as transportation.

Pollution of the environment occurs in every stage of the oil exploration. For example, there can be gas pollution from machine used in the exploration stage. The exploration stage involves geographical investigation, geological survey and drilling. Some of the effects recorded in this stage includes destruction of vegetation and farmlands. Noise pollution and vibration from seismic operation, oil pollution of the sea, beaches or land, destruction of breeding grounds for marine fishes, alteration of the taste of the fishes and pollution of the underground water.

Oil pollution in the Niger Delta area has caused series of damages to the local communities. The people of the Niger Delta who are mostly farmers and fishermen most often are left in a state of confusion as oil spillage pollute the rivers thereby killing aquatic animals. The people have been clamoring for adequate compensation and for the federal government to provide adequate and functional social amenities. Presently there are the issue of the Niger Delta avengers who have further contributed in polluting the area through its consistent blowing of oil pipelines. The area is vulnerable to different kinds of diseases caused by this oil pollution and therefore needs adequate and urgent attention.

Also, the damages done to the oil producing areas have subjected the indigenes of these areas to untold hardship, poverty and squalor. Little or nothing to show for their sacrifice to keep the nation afloat economically. As the geese that lay the golden egg, these communities deserve to be adequately compensated by both the government and the oil companies. Moreover, though the government has not been resting in its bid to protect the environment of the oil producing communities from total degradation, lots still need to be done by the government  and the oil companies to make the environment safe and free from the hazards of oil pollution.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

            As I have earlier noted in the background of this research work that the number of oil spillage is increasing depending on the area. The blowing of oil pipe by the Niger Delta Avengers  in the Niger Delta Region since the emergence of president Muhammadu Buhari on 29th May 2015. Oil pollution could cause adverse impact on the (water quality), vegetable, smothering mangrove trees, crop, etc.

There are cases of sabotage by the oil communities although it is true that oil pipeline sometimes spill but there are also cases of external action which causes oil pollution. The inability of the oil companies to evolve operational method that will place emphasis on good relationship with their host communities.

The principle that the cost of pollution should be borne by the person responsible for causing the pollution [10]  should be strictly be followed to mitigate some of the problems of oil pollution. This allocates economic obligations in relation to environmentally damaging activities to liability and the use of economic instruments and the application of the rules relating to compensation and subsidy.[11]

From the legal perspective, the burden of proof in pollution or oil related cases is another problem. If it can be possible, the onus of proof should be shifted to polluter/defendant company and the Latin maxim “res Ipsa loquitor” should be applied in all cases of pollution in order to save the victims/applicant from losing his case on mere technicalities.

All these point to the fact that there is need to further review the laws and regulations on sustainable environment in order to make the environment pollution free. For instance the NESREA ACT[12] that makes provision for the preservation and protection of the environment did not provide for punishment when an oil company is involved. The activities of the oil companies should also be checkmated by government policies to ensure a healthy environment. In fact the inadequate of compensation given to the oil pollution victims is not adequate enough to ameliorate the hardship occasioned by oil spills.

Finally, the problem of non justiciability of chapter two of the 1999 constitution federal Republic of Nigeria should be looked into. Section 20[13] provides that “The state shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wild life of Nigeria.” To solve this problem the researcher suggest that the said section should be removed from chapter two and imbedded in chapter four of the constitution which deals on fundamental human right as a breach of section 20 of the constitution can cause serious harm to human health and even death.

 

1.3 Research Question

            The following questions are what this study aims to answer:

  1. What are the causes of oil pollution in Nigeria?
  2. What are the impact of oil pollution in Nigeria?
  3. What are the effort of oil companies and government polices to ensure pollution-free environment in Nigeria?
  4. What are the legal framework for oil pollution in Nigeria?
  5. What is the way forward in checkmating the numerous activities of the oil companies that bring about oil pollution?

1.4 Objective of the Study

            The objective of  this study  is generally to ascertain  the impacts of  pollution vis a vis oil pollution in Nigeria and specifically to do the following:

  1. To determine what are the causes of oil pollution in Nigeria.
  2. To determine the impacts of oil pollution in Nigeria
  3. To highlight the efforts made by oil companies and the government to ensure pollution free environment in Nigeria.
  4. To appraise the legal framework of oil pollution in Nigeria.
  5. To make recommendations on pollution-free environment.

1.5 The Significance of the Study

The relevance of this study can be seen on the current blowing of oil pipelines and its adverse effect on the oil producing area. Therefore the significance speaks for itself. There is no doubt that the impact of pollution generally and oil pollution in specific have affected many communities in Nigeria especially the Niger Delta Region. The approach adopted in this research will help the government to new area of solutions to help checkmate oil pollution in Nigeria but also the oil companies in their activities. This study will be useful to the following persons and institution;

The government: Both the federal and state government will find this study handy as a guide to policy formulation especially in the control of oil pollution. The work will also be of immense benefits to the multinational oil companies.

Legislature and Judiciary: The impacts of oil pollution in Nigeria need to be checkmated and to do that effective methods must be put in place by the legislative arm and this work will be of immense help in doing  that. It will also help the judiciary in assessing the level of compensation to the victims of oil pollution.

Students/Researchers: This work will be of tremendous help to students and researchers in this area of law. For students it will serve as a guide whenever they are faced with any problems in this area of law.

As a follow-up, law teachers will equally find this study as a useful material in preparing their lecture note in this area of law, this study has been designed in a way that it covers much on this area and this is aimed at contributing to scholarship and expansion of knowledge.

1.6 The Scope of the Study

The issue of impacts of oil pollution is a global issue especially in the oil producing countries. However, in order to appreciate  the result and objective of this study, I will restrict this work on the impacts of oil pollution in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.

 

1.7 Limitation of the Study

The study on the impacts of oil pollution in Nigeria like every other discourse in law  has some inherent limitations. Some of these limitations arise from the fact that this areas has not received much attention of Nigerian legal writers. Again the government and the oil companies have not been helping matter.

Time was the major constraint while carrying out this research. As the Class Representative (Course Rep) of the final year class there was no much time for me as I was always busy with other general class activities.

Again from time constraint which affects this research, finance was another limitation as I needed to get laptop and other project materials.

Furthermore, there is time table for this project and I have to combine this work with my normal academic activities, this greatly affected the fastness of this study.

The foregoing notwithstanding, I made use f the best resources within my disposal to carry out this research, so that the outcome will be satisfactory and equally add to scholarship.

1.8 Research Methodology

            The issue of sustainable and pollution free environment is majorly related by laws and Acts of the National Assembly in Nigeria. Hence in this research work, much reliance was placed on the primary sources of data such as statutes and other Acts of the National Assembly including decided cases or judicial authorities.

Secondary source of data such as books, journals and online sources was helpful in clarifying some issues. Again, in this age of information technology, one cannot but exploit the numerous opportunities provided by internet order to know the current view of writers and commentators in this area of law and as well acquaint ourselves with the brand of other jurisdictions with regards to the topic.

 

 

 

[1] Awake, November 8, 2003, at p.4.

[2] www.nnpcgroup.com/NNPCBusiness/Businessformation/OilGasinNigeriaIndustryHistory.aspx.

[3] A Report  by Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria (Handbook) 1993.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Odu C.T.I. Effective Environmental Practices in a developing Economy (N.E.S. Lagos 1986) page 4.

[6] Omaka L.A. Municipal and International Environmental Law Lions Unique Concepts, Lagos Nigeria (2012) p. 54.

[7] Baird J. (July 26, 2010). “Oil’s Shame in Africa” Newsweek 27.

[8] Dr. P.C. Nwilo & o. t. Badejo: Impacts of Oil Spills along the Nigerian Coast; The Association for Environmental Health and Science 2001.

[9] Abecasis D.W. Marine Oil Pollution University of Cambridge (1976) p. 2.

[10] Proof. Philippe Sands. Principle of International Environment Law. p. 279.

[11] 1992 R10 Conference Principle 7.

[12] National Assembly Act No. 92, 2007.

[13] Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended).

Advertisements

RIGHT OF PRISONERS

INTRODUCTION
Prisoner’s Rights deals with the rights of inmates while behind bars. Many of these laws relate to fundamental human rights and civil liberties.
You are basically entitled to the same rights as other citizens, but this is subject to the Corrections Act and Regulations and Local Prison Operational Instructions. As the law seeks to balance security and welfare concerns of people in prison, you are entitled to the rights that are consistent with the good order, management and security of the prison.
“Convicts are not by mere reason of the conviction denuded of all the fundamental rights which they otherwise possess.” – per Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer.
RIGHTS OF A LAWYER UNDER THE NIGERIAN LAW
 Cruel and Unusual Punishments – Every inmate has the right to be free under the Eighth Amendment from inhumane treatment or anything that could be considered “cruel and unusual” punishment. Unfortunately, the Eighth Amendment did not clearly define what “cruel and unusual” punishment includes, meaning much of the definition has derived from case law. Generally speaking, any punishment that is considered inhumane treatment, like torture or abuse, or a violation of a person’s basic dignity may be considered cruel and unusual within the discretion of the court.
 Sexual Harassment or Sex Crimes – Inmates have a right to be free from sexual harassment or sex crimes, like being raped or molested while in custody. This applies to crimes or harassment from both inmates and prison personnel.
 Right to Complain About Prison Conditions and Access to the Courts – Inmates have the right both to complain about prison conditions and to voice their concerns to prison officials and the courts.
 Disabled Prisoners – Inmates with disabilities are entitled to certain reasonable accommodations under the American with Disabilities Act to ensure they receive the same access to prison facilities as those who are not disabled.
 Medical and Mental Health Care – Prisoners are entitled to receive medical care and mental health treatment. These treatments are only required to be “adequate,” not the best available or even the standard treatment for those outside of incarceration. .
 Discrimination – Inmates have the right to be free from discrimination while imprisoned. This includes racial segregation, disparate treatment based on ethnicity or religion, or preferences based on age, among others.
 if not ordinarily engaged in outdoor work, the right to be in the open air for at least an hour each day, if the weather permits;
 The right to be provided with food that is adequate to maintain the health and well-being of the prisoner;
 The right to be provided with special dietary food where the Governor is satisfied that such food is necessary for medical reasons or on account of the prisoner’s religious beliefs or because the prisoner is a vegetarian;
 The right to be provided with clothing that is suitable for the climate and for any work which the prisoner is required to do and adequate to maintain the health of the prisoner;
 If not serving a sentence of imprisonment, the right to wear suitable clothing owned by the prisoner;
 The right to have access to reasonable medical care and treatment necessary for the preservation of health including, with the approval of the principal medical officer but at the prisoner’s own expense, a private registered medical practitioner physiotherapist or chiropractor chosen by the prisoner (refer to Medical treatment fact sheet);
 If intellectually disabled or mentally ill, the right to have reasonable access within the prison or, with the Governor’s approval outside a prison to such special care and treatment as the medical officer considers necessary or desirable in the circumstances;
 The right to practise a religion of the prisoner’s choice and, if consistent with prison security and good prison management to join with other prisoners in practising that religion and to possess such articles as are necessary for the practice of that religion;
 The right to receive at least one visit which is to last at least half an hour in each week (refer to Visits fact sheet)
 The right to send letters to, and receive letters from, the Minister, the Secretary, the Commissioner or an official visitor, a member of Parliament, your lawyer, the Ombudsman, the Health Services Commissioner, and the Human Rights Commissioner without those letters being opened by prison staff.
 The right to send and receive other letters uncensored by prison staff except where the Prison manager considers that prison security is threatened; and,
 The right to take part in educational programmes in the prison.

RIGHTS OF A PRISONER UNDER THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
• Pre-trial detainees (those citizens who are too poor to afford bail and who are therefore held pending trial) have the right to be housed in humane facilities. In addition, pre-trial detainees cannot be “punished” or treated as guilty while they await trial.
• Inmates have the right to be free, under the Eighth Amendment, from inhuman conditions because those conditions constitute “cruel and unusual” punishment. The term “cruel and unusual” was not defined at the time the Amendment was passed, but it was noted by the Supreme Court in 1848 that such punishments would include “drawing and quartering, emboweling alive, beheading, public dissecting, and burning alive,” among other things. Today, many of these punishments may seem antiquated, but the basic scope of the protection remains the same. Any punishment that can be considered inhumane treatment or that violates the basic concept of a person’s dignity may be found to be cruel and unusual.
Example: In 1995, a federal court in Massachusetts found that inmates’ constitutional rights were violated when they were held in a 150-year-old prison that was infested with vermin, fire hazards, and a lack of toilets.
• Inmates have the right to be free from sexual crimes, including sexual harassment.
Example: A federal court in the District of Columbia found prison officials liable for the systematic sexual harassment, rape, sodomy, assault, and other abuses of female inmates by prison staff members. In addition, the court found that the prison facilities were dilapidated, that there was a lack of proper medical care available, and that the female inmates were provided with inferior programs as compared to male inmates within the same system.
• Inmates have the right to complain about prison conditions and voice their concerns about the treatment they receive. They also have a right of access to the courts to air these complaints.
Example: A federal court in Iowa recently awarded a prisoner over $7,000 in damages after it was found that he was placed in solitary segregation for one year and then transferred to a different facility where his life was in danger just because he complained about prison conditions and filed a lawsuit challenging the conditions of his confinement.
• Disabled prisoners are entitled to assert their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that they are allowed access to prison programs or facilities that they are qualified and able to participate in.
• Inmates are entitled to medical care and attention as needed to treat both short-term conditions and long-term illnesses. The medical care provided must be “adequate.”
• Inmates who need mental health care are entitled to receive that treatment in a manner that is appropriate under the circumstances. The treatment must also be “adequate.”
• Inmates retain only those First Amendment rights, such as freedom of speech, which are not inconsistent with their status as inmates and which are in keeping with the legitimate objectives of the penal corrections system, such as preservation of order, discipline, and security. In this regard, prison officials are entitled to open mail directed to inmates to ensure that it does not contain any illegal items or weapons, but may not censor portions of correspondence which they find merely inflammatory or rude.
Note: Inmates do not have a right to have face-to-face interviews with news reporters or media representatives. The rationale for this limitation is that the media are not entitled to have access to inmates that members of the general public would not be able to have.
• Inmates have the right to be free from racial segregation in prisons, except where necessary for preserving discipline and prison security.
• Inmates do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their prison cells and are not protected from “shakedowns,” or searches of their cells to look for weapons, drugs, or other contraband.
• Inmates are entitled, under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution, to be free from unauthorized and intentional deprivation of their personal property by prison officials.
• The Supreme Court has held that inmates who are the subject of disciplinary investigations or proceedings are entitled to advance written notice of the claimed violation and a written statement of the facts, evidence relied upon, and the reason for the action taken. The inmate is also entitled to call witnesses and present documentary evidence if allowing him to do so would not risk order, discipline, and security. In that regard, inmates are rarely allowed to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses in an internal disciplinary proceeding.
Note: In most cases, an inmate is not entitled to representation by counsel in a disciplinary proceeding.
• Inmates are entitled to a hearing if they are to be moved to a mental health facility. However, an inmate is not always entitled to a hearing if he or she is being moved between two similar facilities.
• A mentally ill inmate is not entitled to a full-blown hearing before the government may force him or her to take anti-psychotic drugs against his or her will. It is sufficient if there is an administrative hearing before independent medical professionals.
In 1996, Congress passed the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), which has been seen by many critics as unfairly limiting inmate access to the federal court system. The PLRA contains five major provisions:
1. Prisoners must exhaust internal prison grievance procedures before they file suit in federal court.
2. Prisoners must pay their own court filing fees, either in one payment or in a series of monthly installments.
3. Courts have the right to dismiss any prisoner’s lawsuit which they find to be either “frivolous,” “malicious” or stating an improper claim. Each time a court makes this determination, the case can be thrown out of court and the prisoner can have a “strike” issued against them. Once the inmate receives three “strikes,” they can no longer file another lawsuit unless they pay the entire court filing fee up front.
Note: If the inmate is in risk of immediate and serious physical injury, the three strike rule may be waived.
4. Prisoners cannot file a claim for mental or emotional injury unless they can show that they also suffered a physical injury.
5. Prisoners risk losing credit for good time if a judge decides that a lawsuit was filed for the purpose of harassment, that the inmate lied, or that the inmate presented false information.
ANOTHER USA ENACTMENT ADOPTED AND PROCLAIMED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 45/111 OF 14 DECEMBER 1990
1. All prisoners shall be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings.
2. There shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
3. It is, however, desirable to respect the religious beliefs and cultural precepts of the group to which prisoners belong, whenever local conditions so require.
4. The responsibility of prisons for the custody of prisoners and for the protection of society against crime shall be discharged in keeping with a State’s other social objectives and its fundamental responsibilities for promoting the well-being and development of all members of society.
5. Except for those limitations that are demonstrably necessitated by the fact of incarceration, all prisoners shall retain the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and, where the State concerned is a party, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol thereto, as well as such other rights as are set out in other United Nations covenants.
6. All prisoners shall have the right to take part in cultural activities and education aimed at the full development of the human personality.
7. Efforts addressed to the abolition of solitary confinement as a punishment, or to the restriction of its use, should be undertaken and encouraged.
8. Conditions shall be created enabling prisoners to undertake meaningful remunerated employment which will facilitate their reintegration into the country’s labour market and permit them to contribute to their own financial support and to that of their families.
9. Prisoners shall have access to the health services available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation.
10. With the participation and help of the community and social institutions, and with due regard to the interests of victims, favorable conditions shall be created for the reintegration of the ex-prisoner into society under the best possible conditions.
11. The above Principles shall be applied impartially.

RIGHTS OF A PRISONER UNDER THE AUSTRALIAN LAWS
 The right to be treated with humanity, dignity and respect while in detention
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has made it clear that prisoners enjoy all the rights in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), subject to ‘restrictions that are unavoidable in a closed environment’. (General Comment No.21)
One right of special importance to prisoners is the right to be treated with humanity, dignity and respect while in detention. This human right is set out in articles 7 and 10 of the ICCPR, article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and in the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
 The right to vote
Another right of special relevance to prisoners is the right to vote (ICCPR, article 25). Currently in Australia, people who have been sentenced for more than 3 years in prison do not have the right to vote in federal elections while they are serving their sentence. Some argue that it may be reasonable to punish prisoners who have committed serious crimes by depriving them of the right to vote.
However, the United Nations Human Rights Committee considers that depriving persons who have been convicted of a felony of the right to vote does not meet the obligations in article 25 of the ICCPR nor does it serve the rehabilitation goals of article 10(3) of the Convenant. (Human Rights Committee 18 December 2006).
NOTE: The Australian Human Rights Commission does not support the view that prisoners should have their right to vote suspended during their period of imprisonment.

RIGHTS OF A PRISONER UNDER THE BRITAIN CONSTITUTION.
 Access to lawyers
Prisoners have an absolute right to have visits from and to correspond with their solicitor. They do not have to tell the prison authorities why they wish to contact a solicitor, nor make any complaint about prison treatment to the authorities before contacting a solicitor for legal advice. This right was first recognised by the European Court of Human Rights and any attempts to interfere with such access are closely scrutinised by the courts. This right also includes preserving the confidentiality of any legally privileged material held by prisoners in their possession in prison.
 Letters
Convicted prisoners may send one letter a week on which the postage will be paid – the ‘statutory’ letter – and at least one privilege letter, the postage for which must be paid for out of the private cash allowance. The statutory letter must not be withdrawn or withheld as part of punishment for a disciplinary offence. In addition, prisoners may be granted special letters, which do not count against the statutory or privilege letters allowance. A special letter should be granted, for example, after conviction to allow a prisoner to settle his or her business affairs, when transferred to a different prison or to make arrangements regarding employment and accommodation on release.
In practice, prisoners in many prisons may send and receive more letters than this minimum allowance. Prisoners in open prisons have no restriction on the volume of their correspondence.
Un-convicted prisoners may send as many letters as they wish at their own expense and will be allowed two second-class letters a week on which the postage will be paid by the prison authorities.
Letters between prisoners and legal advisors, the Courts, Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and the Parliamentary Commission for Administration (PCA) are afforded legal privilege (with the envelope appropriately marked ‘Prison Rule 39’, ‘Young Offenders Institute Rule 14’, or ‘SO 5B 32 (3)’) and are not to be opened and/or read unless there is well grounded suspicion that there is illicit content and/or enclosure. The opening of correspondence is authorised by an operational manager, and always opened in the presence of the prisoner.
 Censorship
Mail is censored in dispersal prisons – those designed to accommodate high-risk prisoners – and for all Category A prisoners, but otherwise letters will not routinely be read. Additional powers exist to vet letters sent by prisoners convicted of sexual offences against children. There is power for the governor to return an ‘excessive’ number of letters from a correspondent, and if they are ‘overlong’ the governor may request letters be limited to four sides of A5 paper. Letters may be returned to the sender if these requests are ignored. Complaints about prison treatment are no longer prohibited and letters – whether to family, to MPs, the ECHR, and so on – may not be stopped on this ground.
Letters between a prisoner and his or her legal advisor are protected from interference and may not be read nor stopped, whether or not legal proceedings have been issued. There may be examination of such correspondence only to the minimum extent necessary to check that it is bona fide legal correspondence. If a letter is to be inspected it must be done in the presence of the prisoner.
 Telephones
Card-operated telephones for the use of prisoners are being installed in all prisons so that closer links with family and friends can be maintained by those in prison. For security reasons all calls will be recorded and all calls may be monitored and recorded, except those to legal advisers, the Samaritans and other reputable organisations. Use of the telephone may be limited by the governor, but should not be restricted as part of a disciplinary punishment unless the offence was directly related to the misuse of the card-phone or phone card. The Prison Rules do not provide any absolute right to use telephones and pilot schemes have been introduced in some prisons to impose restrictions on the use of telephones by having pre-recorded messages informing the recipient of the call that the person calling is in prison. Although these types of restrictions are not prohibited by the Prison Rules, they may, in some circumstances, breach Article 8 of the Convention.
 Visits
Convicted prisoners are entitled to a minimum of 2 visit’s every four weeks (policy allowing each to last 30 mins) or a longer visit if directed by the Secretary of State. All visitors must be sent, by the prisoner, a V.O. (Visiting Order) prior to travelling or arranging the visit. It is also crucial to take acceptable ID.

 Exercise
A prisoner must have the opportunity to spend time in the open air at least once every day, subject to weather conditions and good order and discipline. The minimum period being 1 (One) hour.
 Other matters
There are two remaining areas that affect prisoners throughout their sentences. ‘Requests and Complaints’ being the first and ‘Discipline’ being the second. Should the prisoner wish to make a request a ‘general application’ form is usually submitted. If this does not prove successful or the prisoner wishes to make a complaint then PSO 2510 must be followed. Basically this provides a three stage appeal process starting with the prisoner submitting a Form Comp1. If this need should arise the prisoner should make contact with his / her legal advisor. Finally, should the prisoner breach any of the prison rules they will be subject to disciplinary proceedings. These can be heard and considered by either a Governor or an Independent Adjudicator. Should the prisoner face should proceedings again contact should be made with the legal advisor.

RIGHTS OF PRISONERS UNDER THE INDIAN LAWS
The Indian socio-legal is based on non-violence, mutual respect and human dignity of the individual. If a person commits any crime, it does not mean that by committing a crime, he ceases to be a human being and that he can be deprived of those aspects of life which constitutes human dignity.
It is the human life that necessitates human rights. Being in civilized society organized with law and a system as such, it is essential to ensure for every citizen a reasonably dignified life. Even if the person is confined or imprisoned because of his wrong, he is entitled to their rights unaffected by the punishment for wrongs, simply because if a person under trial, his rights cannot be discarded as a whole.
“No one shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment”
– (UDHR, 1948)
Prisoners have basic legal rights that can’t be taken away from them. These include:
• The right to food and water.
• Protection from bullying, violence and racial harassment.
• Being able to get in contact with solicitor.
Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees the right of personal liberty and thereby prohibits any inhuman, cruel or degrading treatment to any person whether he is a national or foreigner.
ARTICLE 21- PROTECTION OF LIFE AND PERSONAL PROPERTY provides thus;
No person shall be deprived of his or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
The Article 20(1) ,protect the person from ex post facto laws or retroactive criminal legislation; i.e. when at the time, he committed the crime, if no conditions of harsh labour was prescribed by the court, then, it cannot be enacted or inflicted upon him, for which the imprisonment is prescribed.
The Article 20(2), it has been provided that no person shall be put into trouble twice, for the same offence, (rights against double jeopardy) i.e. the principle of nemo debet vis vexari.
Article 20(3), provides for the protection against ‘testimonial compulsion’, i.e. the protection against compulsion to be a witness is only confined to persons accused of an offence. A right against self- incrimination is given under this.
Right to speedy trial is a fundamental right of a prisoner implicit in article 21 of the Constitution. It ensures just, fair and reasonable procedure. The fact that a speedy trial is also in public interest or that it serves the social interest also, does not make it any the less right of accused. It is in the interest of all concerned that the guilt or innocence of the accused is determined as quickly as possible in the circumstances.
Article 19; “freedom of speech and expression”, “freedom to become member of an association” and also the rights to acquire, hold and dispose property are enjoyed by the prisoners even they are behind bars, within the limitations of the prison.
To handcuff is to hoop harshly and to punish humiliatingly. The minimum freedom of movement, under which a detainee is entitled to under Article 19, cannot be cut down by the application of handcuffs. Handcuffs must be the last refuge as there are other ways for ensuring security.
Article 14; gives the right to equality and equal protection before laws. So, prisoners too have their own rights. If any excesses committed on a prisoner, by the police is considered as a violation of rights and it warrants the attention of the legislature and judiciary. The right to meet friends, relatives and lawyers are provided under article 14 and article 21. Such rights are reasonable and non-arbitrary. Even prison regulations recognize the right of prisoners to have interview with a legal adviser necessary, in a reasonable manner. Right to free legal aid is also provided under this article 14 and 21.
Article 22(1), The prisoner also has the right to consult and to be defendant by a lawyer under this article.
Article 22(4) to (7) provides special safeguards for the protection of prisoner’s rights. A prisoner has the right to be informed about the grounds on which he was arrested, under this article.
Article 39(A), The state shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on the basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities
If a prisoner sentenced to imprisonment, is virtually unable to exercise his constitutional and statutory right of appeal, for want of legal assistance, there is implicit in the court under Article 142 read with article 21 and 39 A of the Constitution, power to assign council for such imprisoned individual for doing complete justice. Where the prisoner is disabled from engaging a lawyer, on reasonable grounds such as indigence or incommunicado situation, the court shall, if the circumstances of the case, the gravity of the sentence, and the ends of justice so required, assign competent counsel for the prisoners defense, provided the party doesn’t object to that lawyer.