Overcrowding prisons a major concern for Chhattisgarh

There is no such plan by the state government to shift any of the five big central jails that are located in the heart of the cities, a senior officer told The New Indian Express.
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.Express illustrations

RAIPUR: In Chhattisgarh, the overcrowded spaces across the 33 prisons including the five Central jails remain challenging. There are 18,774 inmates (17,989 males and 785 females) against the existing capacity of 14,383 in the state.

Since the creation of Chhattisgarh state in November 2000, though eight new jails have been built with two others renovated handling the congestion remains arduous.

To cope with the task of easing the burden felt in various overcrowded jails, the state has expedited the process of construction of 58 additional barracks within the existing nine correctional infrastructure to augment capacity for accommodating an additional 3000 inmates.

Chhattisgarh has five central, 20 district and eight sub jails.

To address the persisting concerns of overcrowding prisons, three new facilities remain under construction as part of extension—an open jail in Bemetra with a capacity of 200, special jail in Bilaspur for 1500 inmates nearing completion, the execution process to erect a special jail in capital Raipur for 4000 prisoners has begun.

The state home minister Vijay Sharma in the last budget session told the House that Rs 1,195 lakh was sanctioned for the creation of barracks in nine jails - including central jails in Jagdalpur and Ambikapur, district jails in Rajnandgaon, Kabirdham, Surajpur, Jashpur, Gariaband and sub jails in Manendragarh and Narayanpur.

With the urban domain in Chhattisgarh growing both in size and population, there is no such plan by the state government to shift any of the five big central jails that are located in the heart of the cities, a senior officer of the jail administration told The New Indian Express.

Amid the demanding situations the jail administration didn't lag behind to offer amenities for the inmates. “Prisoners are ensured with proper hygienic food, clothing and best possible medical facilities provided. The correctional conveniences are rigorously implemented in accordance with the jail manuals and reviewed during surprise visits by authorities, human rights commission and even judicial officials”, the officer added.

A prison calling system (telephone service) for inmates to speak to their relatives who for various reasons could not visit them. A diploma course in Sanskrit literature operated by Sanskrit Shiksha Mandalam given in Raipur Central Jail.

The accused lodged in the 33 jails of the state can be produced before courts through video conference on the day of hearing. The needy accused are extended with free legal help/services if needed.

To prevent any attempt of jail break or escape or disallow intruders the major boundary walls have been mounted with solar-powered security fencing. Solar power plants installed in various jails to save electricity bills and promote a greener future.

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