Over 4 lakh in jails across India

Over 4 lakh in jails across India

Overcrowded, under-staffed and rising number of undertrials — the sorry state of affairs continues in Indian jails with latest government statistics showing that 4.18 lakh people are in jail, with 117 sharing the space meant for 100.

The latest ‘Prison Statistics India 2014’ prepared by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed that nothing much has changed in jails though one could argue that there is miniscule improvement in capacity.

At the end of 2014, the report said 4.18 lakh prisoners were in jails, which could only accommodate 3.56 lakh people. This report comes at a time the states could only increase capacity by 8,702 in 2014 while the number of prisoners have risen by 6,544.

Compared to 2013, the authorities can claim that the occupancy rate has come down from 118.4 per cent to 117.4 per cent. “Overcrowding is one of the biggest problems faced by good number of jails. Keeping in view the human rights of the prisons, it is essential that they are given reasonable space and facilities in jails,” the report said.

While 12 states, including the big ones like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal, have an occupancy rate less than 100 per cent, the major culprits in the keeping the national rate above 100 per cent are Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Jharkhand.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli reported the highest overcrowding in prisons at 331.7 per cent (199 prisoners occupying space of 60) followed by Chhattisgarh 258.9 per cent and Delhi 221.6 per cent. In Chhattisgarh jails, 16,525 prisons are cramped in space for just 6,382 while in Delhi it has 13,850 in the space of 6,250. Delhi had shown an increase of 4.8 percentage points from 216.8 per cent in 2013.

Karnataka jails, which have a capacity of 13,381 housed 14,221 prisoners at the end of 2014. Compared to 2013, the state could increase the capacity by 281 while the rise in prisoners was 103. According to the report, the highest number of 88,221 inmates was in Uttar Pradesh jails followed by Madhya Pradesh (36,433), Bihar (31,295), Maharashtra (27,868) and Punjab (26,007).

The number of convicted prisoners has increased by 1.5 per cent in 2014 (1.31 lakh) over 2013 (1.29 lakh). Number of persons convicted for murder charge rose by 2.3 per cent in 2014 (69,773) over 2013 (68,199). Number of persons convicted for rape charge has increased by 8.4 per cent in 2014 (8,879) over 2013 (8,188), the report said.

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