As many as 4,916 prisoners of the total of around 15,000 prisoners in the State are suffering from various types of mental disorders, and 237 from severe mental disorder, says data submitted by the State government to the High Court of Karnataka on Thursday.
The Bengaluru Central Prison has a maximum of 2,023 prisoners suffering from mental disorders. While Hassan district prison has 344 prisoners with mental disorders, Kalaburgi has 336, Tumakuru has 237, and Ballari has 235.
The psychiatric assessment has classified the disorders into different categories like severe mental disorder, common mental disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental retardation, epilepsy, neurological disorder, mental and behaviour disorder due to substance use like alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, opioid, and polysubstance.
The data was submitted to the court after conducting psychiatric assessment of all the prisoners in the 36 prisons of the total 43 prisons in the State as per the provisions of the Mental Health Care (MHC) Act, 2017. The assessment in seven jails, Gadag and Mandya district prisons, and four taluk prisons is in progress, The court in July last year found that assessment of mental health of prisoners was not done as per the MHC Act as all the prisoners were not subjected to psychiatric assessment when the government had claimed that only 562 prisoners were suffering from mental disorders.
‘Shocking state of affairs’
Terming the outcome of the assessment as “shocking and disturbing state of affairs, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar directed the medical officers of the Bengaluru Central Prison and Kalaburgi Central Prison to submit reports in sealed cover the treatment provided to the prisoners suffering from mental disorders.