With 165 Inmates Packed in Jails Meant for 100, UP Prisons Most Crowded; Chhattisgarh Ranks Second
An NCRB report states that while the number of jail inmates is at a five-year high, from 2012 to 2017, the rate of occupancy in the jails, or overcrowding, is also growing.
New Delhi: Indian prisons are running out of space to accommodate an increasing number of inmates, according to a report compiled for the year 2017 by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The report states that while the number of jail inmates is at a five-year high, from 2012 to 2017, the rate of occupancy in the jails, or overcrowding, is also growing. Data also showed that the average national average occupancy rate in India’s prisons stood at 115.1 percent, highest in three years from 2015-17.
Overcrowding, the government’s own agency states, is “one of the biggest problems faced by prison inmates.” While the report doesn’t go as far as to claim that human rights of prison inmates are increasingly being violated, it does claim that overcrowding “results in poor hygiene, lack of sleep etc. Keeping in view the human rights of the prisoners, it is essential that they are given reasonable space and facilities in jails.”
According to the official data, during the period of 2012-2017, the number of inmates (which includes detainees, convicts and undertrials) has increased from 3,85,135 in 2012 to 4,50,696 in 2017, showing an increase of 17 percent.
In terms of overcrowding in Indian prisons, Uttar Pradesh leads the national tally with a staggering 165 per cent occupancy in its jails. Which means that for a space in which only 100 people can be accommodated, 165 people are being pushed in.
Chhattisgarh is not far behind with occupancy rate of 157.2 percent. This state has consistently fared in such lists owing to nearly 15 years of civil strife due to Naxal insurgency, violence and retaliatory violence of the government-backed militia, ‘Salwa Judum’. However, the new state government led by Bhupesh Bhagel has initiated a move to look into thousands of arrests which were allegedly not backed with enough evidence. Its state government is working to set up a commission to provide legal aid to nearly 6,000 undertrials. So, given a mitigation in Naxal-led violence and state government’s initiative, the data for later years could show a slight dip in its prison occupancy rates.
Delhi is the third leader in the tally with an occupancy rate of 151.2 percent. Lakshwadeep is at the bottom of the tally with the least occupancy -- just 3.1 percent.
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