Despite the government declaring many welfare projects for inmates in jails across the state, overcrowding is an issue which is yet to be addressed.
The number of inmates in five jails in the district has almost become double the capacity and the authorities have hardly budged so far.
As per the statistics from the Prison
Department, the capacity of the district jail and four sub-jails in Ernakulam district is 287, but there are 444 inmates lodged in these jails as on February 1.
There are 171 inmates in Ernakulam District Jail which can actually accommodate only 131 persons. The Special Sub-jail, Muvattupuzha, which has a capacity of 72 has 101 inmates. The Aluva Sub-jail is crowded with 86 inmates in the place of 26. Ernakulam Sub-jail with a capacity of 28 houses 45 inmates and the Sub-jail in Mattanchery having a capacity of 28 lodges 41 persons.
The officials in the Prison Department, Thiruvananthapuram, pointed out that since several of the accused in NIA and CBI cases are lodged in various jails in Ernakulam district, there are security issues also besides overcrowding.
“The government made a declaration regarding conversion of the district jail into a Central jail or starting a new Central jail in the district about a year ago, but nothing has been done so far. Ernakulam District requires a high security Central Prison going by the large number of undertrials accused in NIA cases lodged here. Another major concern is the dearth of staff, especially in sub-jails. Putting up more persons in cells can help tackle the overcrowding issue to an extent,” an official said.
The situation is no different across the state. As on February 1, there are 7,326 prisoners lodged in 55 prisons in the state when the actual capacity is 6,217. Overcrowding is becoming a major issue in Thiruvananthapuram Central Prison where 1,255 persons are lodged has a capacity of just 727. When the capacity of the Central Prison was 560 inmates, 722 inmates were lodged there.
However, the women’s prison and Borstal School are an exception.