NEW DELHI: Indian prisons continue to be overburdened with an increasing number of inmates and are operating at the rate of 115% occupancy, according to the crime and prison statistics report of NCRB for 2017.
Statistics show that the number of jail inmates was at a five-year high in 2017 and the overcrowding was also growing. The national average occupancy rate in India’s prisons stood at 115.1%, highest in three years from 2015-17.
The report states that overcrowding is “one of the biggest problems faced by prison inmates”. The report noted that 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.”
According to the official data, during the period 2012-2017, the number of inmates (which includes detainees, convicts and undertrials) increased from 3,85,135 in 2012 to 4,50,696 in 2017 showing an increase of 17%.
Uttar Pradesh leads the national tally with a staggering 165% occupancy in its jails. This means that for a space in which 100 people can be accommodated, 165 people are being pushed in. Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh also has a high occupancy rate of 157.2%.
Delhi is third in the tally with an occupancy rate of 151.2% while Lakshwadeep is at the bottom with just 3.1%.
As of December 31, 2017, NCRB registered 4,50,696 inmates in prisons across the country, who were lodged in jails meant for 3,91,574 inmates. Among various categories of jails, the highest rate of overcrowding — 128.9% — was found in district jails.