Central jail home to drug addicts

As much as 61.5 per cent of the inmates at Parappana Agrahara  Central jail are drug addicts, according to a report.

A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) and Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSE) paints a grim picture of the prison inmates.

Of the 721 prisoners subjected to various tests, 442 were found addicted to cocaine, opium and barbiturates. It also came to light that 51.5 per cent of the inmates were alcoholics while 67.3 per cent were smokers.

Overcrowded

The jail, with a capacity for 2,100 prisoners, houses as many as 5,200 inmates.

Undertrials constitute 65.4 per cent of the total strength. The prison lacks medical facilities with just three doctors and assistants each and a sole nurse.
 “If you take the ratio, it is one doctor for 1,300 inmates while it is 1:100 at prisons in other countries,” the report points out.

Unobstructed availability of alcohol, narcotic substances, tobacco and mental illness of large number of inmates point out to horrendous state of affairs at the prison.

Understaffed

Describing the prison as a ‘mini sanctuary’ for mental illnesses, the report says that a single psychiatrist runs the show even as 21.8 percent inmates suffer from mental disorders. The inmates have expressed their anger against lack of hygiene, safe drinking water and poor quality food. The health condition of the prison staff is no better with about 90 percent of them suffering from high blood pressure.

The report has suggested to authorities to prepare a database pertaining to the prisoners. Recommending the appointment of doctors and conducting health camps and reduction in the number of inmates, it has also suggested to check the supply of drugs, liquor and tobacco to the prison.

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