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‘Two-thirds of prisoners in India are undertrials’

The ‘Prison Statistics India 2015’ report was released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Monday. Here are five things the data tells us about the state of Indian prisons.

The problem of overcrowding

The report calls overcrowding as “one of the biggest problems faced by prison inmates.” It results in poor hygiene and lack of sleep among other problems. “Keeping in view the human rights of the prisoners, it is essential that they are given reasonable space and facilities in jails,” the report says.

The occupancy rate at the all India level at the end of 2015 was 114.4 per cent.

Look at the map below. The red-coloured states have overcrowded prisons while the green ones have adequately managed their prison population.

At 276.7 per cent, Dadra & Nagar Haveli is reported to have most overcrowded prisons, followed by Chhattisgarh (233.9 per cent), Delhi (226.9 per cent), Meghalaya (177.9 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (168.8 per cent).

Two-thirds of the prisoners are undertrials

Sixty-seven per cent of the people in Indian jails are undertrials — people not convicted of any crime and currently on trial in a court of law.

Among the larger States, at 82.4 per cent, Bihar had the highest proportion of undertrials, followed by Jammu & Kashmir (81.5 per cent), Odisha (78.8 per cent), Jharkhand (77.1 per cent) and Delhi (76.7 per cent).

Three States from the Northeast also had a high proportion of undertrials: Meghalaya (91.4 per cent), Manipur (81.9 per cent) and Nagaland (79.6 per cent).

A fourth of all the under trials have been under detention for more than a year. The ratio is highest in Jammu and Kashmir.

On an average, four died every day in 2015

In 2015, a total of 1,584 prisoners died in jails. 1,469 of these were natural deaths and the remaining 115 were attributed to unnatural causes.

Two-thirds of all the unnatural deaths (77) were reported to be suicides while 11 were murdered by fellow inmates — nine of which were in jails in Delhi.

Foreign Convicts

Over two thousand foreign convicts (2,353) were lodged in various jails in India at the end of 2015. The highest number of foreign convicts — 1,266 — were in jails of West Bengal, followed by Andaman & Nicobar Island (360), Uttar Pradesh (146), Maharashtra (85) and Delhi (81).

Prisoner Profile

Seventy per cent of the convicts are illiterate or have studied only below class tenth.

Capital Punishment

Over hundred people were awarded death penalty (101) in 2015. Forty-nine were commuted to life sentence.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 12:06:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/%E2%80%98Two-thirds-of-prisoners-in-India-are-undertrials%E2%80%99/article16080519.ece

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