Indian prisons are stretched to their limits

Source: The post is based on an article Indian prisons are stretched to their limits” published in The Hindu on 11th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Governance

Relevance: issues associated with prisons in India

News: The prisons in India are over-crowded. The National Crime Records Bureau’s ‘Prison Statistics India’ reports have provided various data on the condition of prison in India.

What does the data say about the over-crowded prison?

The capacity of prisons has increased from some 3.32 lakh to 4.25 lakh in the last decade, which is a 27% increase while the number of prisoners has increased from 3.7 lakh to 5.54 lakh in the same period, by 48%.

This imbalance has caused the occupancy rate to surge from 112% to 130% in the last decade.

The problem of over-crowding was worse in the northern States/Union Territories (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi). The occupancy rate crossed 180% in 2021 in these regions.

Moreover, the occupancy rate out of the 36 States and UTs increased in 26 states while in 18 of the states had the occupancy rate more than 100% in the year 2021.

However, the occupancy rate decreased in Chhattisgarh and Punjab by 108% points and 51% points respectively.

Among UTs the occupancy rate was highest in Delhi between the year 2011 and 2021. The occupancy rate increased from 60% to 183%, which is 122% increase.

These data provide for the Indian prisoners while the data on foreign prisoners also show the dismal condition.

What does the data say on prison officers?

Over 60% of officer positions were vacant in 2019 in Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand and less than ₹20,000 was spent on each prison inmate in 2019-20 in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra.

Therefore, there are high vacancies for prison officers in some states and also the money spent on each prison inmate also varies widely across States.

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