In an effort to decongest the city prisons, Delhi Government is in the process of setting up two new jails which will have model wards and other facilities like sports complex and vocational training institutes for the inmates.

The Government has already acquired 45 acre land in Narela area of the city whereas it has requested land agency DDA to hand over another 50 acres in Baprula in northwest Delhi to set up the prisons.

With crime rate going up in the city, the existing prisons are facing the problem of overcrowding in the last couple of years. At present around 12,000 prisoners are staying at Tihar and Rohini jails against the sanctioned capacity of 6,250 prisoners.

“These two prisons will have facilities at par with international standards. We have already acquired land for one in Narela while DDA has been requested to another plot in Baprula area,” said a senior official in the Home Department of Delhi Government.

He said both the proposed prisons will have sports complexes and state-of-the-art health facilities, model wards besides having a modern jail management system.

Currently, construction is going on for a new prison in Mandola area of the city on a 27 acre plot which will have a capacity to house 3,600 prisoners.

Expressing concern over rapidly increasing jail population and crime rate in the city, a House panel of Delhi Assembly had last month told the city Government to prepare a short-term as well long-term roadmap to overcome the problem.

Describing the problem as “most alarming”, the committee asked the city Government to prepare a short-term roadmap to tackle the problem by 2010.

Asked about the panel’s direction, the official said Government has already initiated the process for releasing offenders caught for petty crimes with the permission of the Delhi High Court.

“We are mulling various measures to cut down the number of prisoners in the jails,” he said.

The Public Accounts Committee of the Assembly also asked the Government to examine decriminalisation of certain offences in an effort to devise alternatives to imprisonment for offenders caught for certain petty crimes.

Suggesting steps for decongesting the prisons, the Committee had asked the Government to examine decriminalisation of certain offences in an effort to devise alternatives to imprisonment for the offenders for certain petty crimes.

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