Imprisonment in jail is a lawful form of punishment in the criminal justice system of Bangladesh. As the Jail Code provides, offenders serving imprisonment for different period of time, are desired to work for their self-improvement so that they can easily reintegrate in the society after being released from the prison. Chapter XXI of the Code prescribes detailed procedure, terms and conditions of remission of term of imprisonment, which are meant to develop good conduct among the prisoners. On fulfillment of some conditions, the prisoners are awarded with remission of terms by the prison authority. Meticulous behaviour of the prisoners in the jail compound is specially considered in this regard. This is one of the ways by which the terms of imprisonment may be reduced to a great extent and a prisoner may be released from the jail before the completion of his/her period of imprisonment which was earlier decided by the court.
According to the Jail Code, there are two types of remission available for the prisoners in jail, namely (a) ordinary remission; and (b) special remission.
Ordinary remissions are granted to the prisoners in the following scale under Chapter XXI of the Code:
a) three days per month for thoroughly good conduct and scrupulous attention to all prison regulations;
b) two days per month for industry and the due performance of the daily task imposed;
c) convict overseer and night watchman shall receive 7 and 6 days ordinary remission respectively per month;
d) Prisoners employed on prison services, such as cooks and sweepers, who work on Fridays and holidays, may be awarded three days ordinary remission per quarter;
e) One day remission may be credited to the prisoner at the end of every month during which he has been employed on any prison service; and
f) Any prisoner who for a period of one year reckoned from the first day of the month following the date of his sentence or the date on which he was last punished for a prison offence, has committed no prison offence whatever, shall be awarded fifteen days ordinary remission.
In addition to facilitating ordinary remission, the Senior Superintendent or Superintendent and Inspector General of Prisons or the Government may award a special remission of 45 and 90 days in a year respectively in the following cases:
a) assisting in detecting or preventing breaches of prison discipline or regulations;
b) success in teaching handicrafts;
c) special excellence in, or greatly increased out turn of, work of good quality;
d) protecting an officer of the prison from attack;
e) assisting an officer of the prison in the case of outbreak of dis-contentment, disturbances, fire or similar emergency;
f) economy in wearing clothes;
g) showing proficiency in receiving technical or academic training; and
h) scrupulous attention to Jail Regulations and remaining free from Jail punishments except warning, for three consecutive years.
Moreover, section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 empowers the Government to remit the terms of punishment of any prisoner with or without condition. By this way the total tenure of imprisonment of a prisoner may be shortened deducting total remission earned by him in jail. However, there is a condition that the total remission awarded to a prisoner shall not exceed one-third of total sentence. Hence a year equals to nine months in jail and a prisoner of life imprisonment (life imprisonment amounts to 30 years) may be released from jail after serving 10 years imprisonment.
The writer is an Assistant Professor of Law, University of Asia Pacific.