Jails overflowing with inmates: Report

Jails overflowing with inmates: Report

The dismal story of Indian jails seems to have no end. A fresh official report once again shows that the jails are bursting at their seams with a record 4.11 lakh prisoners, and 118 inmates sharing space meant for 100. 

While 1,391 jails in the country can house 3.47 lakh prisoners, there were 4.11 lakh inmates, the Prison Statistics 2013 prepared by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said. Last year, the occupancy rate was 112 per cent. While the capacity of jails increased by 4,000, the rise in number of prisoners was 21,000 compared to 2012.

Of the total prisoners, 67.6 per cent (2.78 lakh) were undertrials, which number went up from 2.54 lakh in 2012. The overcrowding in jails have prompted the Supreme Court to ask the Centre to take proactive steps to ensure that undertrials who have served more than half their prison term are released.

Maximum number of undertrials (37.9 per cent) were detained for up to 3 months at the end of 2013, while 3,047 undertrials were in jail for more than five years. Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of such undertrials (914) followed by Bihar (464).

In 2012, undertrials who were detained for more than five years were 2,028.Classification of undertrial prisoners professing different faiths revealed that 69 per cent (1.92 lakh) adhered to Hindu religion while 21 per cent (57,936) were from the Muslim community and the rest belonged to other religions. 

According to the report, the highest number of 83,518 inmates were in Uttar Pradesh jails followed by Madhya Pradesh (34,708), Bihar (31,259), Punjab (27,449) and Maharashtra (27,400). Chhattisgarh reported the highest overcrowding in prisons (261 per cent occupancy) followed by Delhi (216.8 per cent).

Karnataka jails, which have a capacity of 13,100, housed 14,118 prisoners at the end of 2013. Of this, 4,418 were convicts and 9,506 undertrial prisoners.

A total of 4,820 inmates suffered from mental illness out of 4,11,992 inmates, accounting for 1.2 per cent of total inmates lodged in various jails at the end of 2013.

The number of prisoners awaiting execution in jails at the end of 2013 was 382, including ten women, while 125 prisoners were awarded death penalty. Capital punishment of 115 inmates was commuted to life imprisonment last year.One inmate was executed in the country (in Delhi) during 2013, the report said.

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