CHRI analysis reveals the poor state of jails

A recent report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) revealed that the country’s 1,401 jails hold 4,19,623 prisoners against the capacity of 3,66,781.

This revelation was followed by a State-by-State analysis of the Prison Reform Programme (PRP) by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

November 8

The analysis results, stated to be alarming, will be released by representatives of the National Human Rights Commission, Central Information Commission and National Commission for Women on November 8.

An informal workshop, held to discuss some of the analysis results, was organised by the CHRI in the Capital on Friday. The workshop saw a panel discussion headed by CHRI director Sanjoy Hazarika.

The analysis brought to light the poor state of the country’s prisons. In fact, some State prisons house twice as many prisoners as they are supposed to hold. However, the biggest surprise is that nearly 70 per cent of the population in these jails is yet to be proven guilty. With two-thirds of the prison population awaiting trials, one-fourth of the population has already spent more than a year behind bars.

“There many silences in the NCRB data. The focus on safeguard mechanisms is inadequate,” said CHRI PRP coordinator Sana Das.

Limit of expenditure

One of the facts highlighted in the workshop is related to the limit of expenditure. Though the limit of expenditure has been increased for prison authorities, the daily expenditure per prisoner on an average is Rs.86 per day. The expenditure in Delhi is Rs.201 and Rs.8 in Rajasthan. The data also states that there were 1,584 deaths in prison during the year, of which 19 fall under the “others” category. The category remains unexplained by the authorities.

The CHRI has started examining two prison oversight mechanisms — the board of visitors and the undertrial review committee — with help of information provided under the RTI Act.

(The writer is an

intern with The Hindu)

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 11:31:58 AM |

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