DoPM to construct separate lock-ups for third-gender inmates

Pahichan, (Kathmandu), November 5 -The Department of Prison Management (DoPM) in Nepal is planning to construct separate lock-ups for third-gender inmates for the first time in the country.

The new Central Jail, which is in the process of construction in Bidur Municipality of Nuwakot district, will have three rooms for third-gender inmates, according to Shambhu Koirala, Director General of DoPM.

“Keeping in mind that the third-gender people have full legal rights, we have decided to build separate rooms for them in order to protect sexual orientation and gender identity of third-gender people,” Koirala said.

Till now, prison houses in the country have lock-ups for men and female only. Inmates from third-gender community have to be shuttled between man and woman depending upon convenience.

The new move of DoPM follows the Supreme Court’s landmark verdict in 2007, in which the court had recognised gender identity of third gender people as natural.

“We want to meet as much international standards as possible for a correctional facility,” Koirala added. DoPM, in its master plan, also aims to build one room for conjugal visits for married couples.

According to the DoPM, the state-of-art new facility can accommodate up to 6,000 jailbirds. There will be 10 blocks in the new building and offenders of heinous crimes, mentally unstable prisoners and those below and over 21 years of age will be housed separately from the general prison population.

The construction of the country’s first ever international standard prison is likely to begin after December and is expected to be completed in the next five years, he informed.

According to Koirala, the task of land surveying has been completed and it is now preparing infrastructural designs for the new facility.