Prison statistics of the country for the year 2012 released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) last week show that 3,85,135 persons were lodged in the 1,394 jails of the country as on December 31 last, the date considered by the NCRB for tabulating the annual statistics. 95.6 per cent or 3,68,184 of the inmates were male and remaining 4.4 per cent female. During that year another 2,20,542 inmates were released on various grounds.

The statistics show that 4,470 of the inmates were mentally challenged persons accounting for 1.2 per cent of the total. They include convicts, undertials and detenues. Odisha had the highest number of mentally challenged inmates with 496 followed by Andhra Pradesh with 443 inmates, West Bengal with 417 and Karnataka with 383. In fact all the 28 States had mentally challenged inmates in its jails last year. The Union Territory of Delhi had 120 such inmates.

The total inmates last year comprise 1,27,789 convicts, 2,54,857 undertrials, 1,922 detenues plus 567 inmates marked as “others”. They include 6,592 foreign nationals. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 80,311 inmates. Madhya Pradesh which followed had less than half the figure of UP-33,959 inmates and Bihar third with 28,550. In 2011 too UP was on top with 82,383 inmates.

From among the convicts, 64,949 accounted for murder alone. With 11,417 inmates, UP had the highest number of such convicts in its jails last year and also accounted to the highest percentage of murder convicts in the country during the year-17.6, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 10,414 inmates or 16 per cent. The jails had 7,009 inmates convicted for rape.

Though 414 inmates, including 13 women, in various jails of the country were those serving capital punishment only one execution had taken place and that was in Maharashtra. The person executed was the Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab who was given the noose for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Kasab was executed at the Yerwada prison, Pune on November 21, last year.

UP had the highest number of inmates serving capital punishment-106 and all of them men. Karnataka had 63 such inmates including a woman and Maharashtra had 46 including five women. Delhi had 27 and four among them were women. Last year alone 97 persons were sentenced to death in the country with UP accounting for 25. In 2011, there were 477 convicts served capital punishment in various jails but no executions were carried out that year.

Last year 1,471 inmates had died at various jails in the country and they included 55 women. 1,345 of these deaths were termed natural and remaining 126 listed as un-natural. The latter category includes 87 suicides inside jails and 8 of them women. Punjab accounted for the highest number of suicides-17 followed by Uttar Prdesh with 10.

1,580 inmates were post graduates. The jails provided vocational training to 52,228 prisoners. The highest gross earning through production of goods by inmates trained in various vocational programmes was reported from Delhi-Rs. 28.85 crore, followed by Bihar-Rs. 17.08 crore, UP-Rs. 14.56 crore and Kerala-Rs. 12.55 crore.

382 children of 344 women convicts and 1,397 children of 1,226 women undertrials were also lodged in the various jails of the country along with the mothers.