25 pc space in women's prisons unused

One in every four beds in women’s prisons is empty at a time when men have to squeeze themselves in overcrowded barracks in jails across the country.

Latest statistics show that overcrowding is mainly faced by jails for men where 121 prisoners occupy space meant for 100. The “Prison Statistics India 2013” released recently by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) gives a clear picture about the number of women in jails.

The report shows that women account for just 4.4 per cent (18,188) of 4.11 lakh prison inmates spread across 1,391 jails in the country. While men struggle to find space as 3.93 lakh of them share the space meant for 3.29 lakh, women do not fill to the capacity. Jails can accommodate 24,286 women, but only 74.9 per cent space is occupied.

“The overcrowding in Indian prisons is not primarily due to the abnormally higher rate of imprisonment. The rate of imprisonment in India, as per number of prison inmates, is 32 prisoners per one lakh population during 2013, which is demonstrably one of the lowest in the world,” R R Verma, Director-General of NCRB, said.

Only six states have reported overcrowding in their women’s jails with Uttarakhand and Delhi topping the list in occupancy rate. Uttarakhand lodged 182 women in a space for 97 with an occupancy rate of 187.6 per cent or almost two prisoners sharing a bed.

Delhi had 615 women prisoners where the capacity was 400. Chhattisgarh with 470 capacity had 821 women in jails while Uttar Pradesh had 3,312 women in jails where the capacity was 3,078. Bihar, Maharashtra and Punjab had near 100 per cent occupancy.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli whose prison has the capacity of lodging 10 women, did not have a single woman in it at the end of 2013.

Lakhshadweep is the only Union Territory that does not have designated space for women in jails. It did not have any woman in its four jails with a capacity of 64. Curiously, Lakshadweep also did not have any men in jails.

The report said 342 women convicts with their 407 children and 1,252 women undertrials with their 1,518 children were lodged in various prisons at the end of 2013.

Across India, 4.1 per cent inmates were women convicts while 4.6 per cent were women undertrials. The maximum number of women convicts was in Uttar Pradesh (963).
DH News Service

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