Other States

Chhattisgarh prisons the most crowded in country

The occupancy rate of prisons in the State is put at 233.5 per cent

Chhattisgarh, torn by years of conflict, has the most crowded prisons in the country.

The recent data revealed by the Prison Statistics of India [PSI], under the Home Ministry, 2015, says that 28 prisons of Chhattisgarh with a capacity of 7,552 inmates has a population of 17,662 inmates making the occupancy rate at 233.5 per cent.

The national average occupancy rate of the prisons is 114.4 percent.

No other State is even close to Chattisgarh.

Among the Union Territories Dadra and Nagar Haveli which has 160 inmates and has a sanctioned strength of 60 inmates has an occupancy rate 276.7 per cent.

Poor hygiene

“Overcrowding results in poor hygiene, lack of sleep etc. 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.

When approached on the issue Giridhari Nayak, Director-General of Prisons, Chhattisgarh said that the problem would soon be fixed.

“We have extended the capacity of the prisons by 800. In the next three months new prisons with a capacity 1,500 will be in place. We will have a capacity of over 10,000 [inmates] and the occupancy rate will come to 180,” Mr Nayak told The Hindu on phone.

Huge discrepancy

There is a huge discrepancy in the occupancy rate in conflict ridden south Chhattishgarh and Bastar area compared to rest of the State,

Shalini Gera, a lawyer working with a voluntary organisation, Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group said that in the Kanker district jail, in south Chattishgarh. the sanctioned capacity was 65 but the number of inmates was 439.

Similarly, at Dantewada District jail which has a capacity of 150, the number of inmates is four times higher at about 600, she said.

Pointing out that the issue of overcrowding cannot be dealt with by increasing more prisons, Ms. Gera referred that a study conducted between 2005 and 2012 revealed that conviction rate is 4.3 per cent.

The details obtained by RTI at Dantewada District and Session Court during the period revealed that 95.7 per cent of all the Sessions’ trials end in complete acquittal of all accused on all charges.

“Large per cent of Adivasi population, which is poor and illiterate and has little access to the legal system is being incarcerated in the prison of the State for the long time,” she added.

Undertrials

The number of undertrails in the State exceeds those convicted with 55.9 per cent undertrials in the prison.

States like Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur which are embroiled in conflict have huge number of undertrials.

While J&K has 81.5 percent of all inmates in jail who are undertrial prisoners, in Manipur the percentage is 81.9, according to recent PSI report.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 1:42:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Chhattisgarh-prisons-the-most-crowded-in-country/article16083422.ece

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