Prisons in Uttar Pradesh housed almost a quarter of India’s total inmate population in 2019.
Delhi: The fear of COVID-19 spread in prisons is forcing Indian prisons to take necessary steps to avoid the formation of potential clusters, given that India’s occupancy rate is about 170 percent. This means that in a space earmarked for 100 inmates, about 170 are residing. Many countries worldwide have released a large number of prisoners fearing the spread of Covid-19.
Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) prisons have an overall occupancy rate of 167.9 percent, which means that space marked for every 100 inmates is being occupied by about 168 inmates as reported by Prison Statistics of India. Overcrowding leads to poor hygiene conditions, lack of sleep, sub-human conditions, amongst other things.
Over the past four years (since 2016), there has been a year-on-year increase in the prison capacity for males. This, however, has not led to any significant reduction in the occupancy rate. For females, the capacity has been increased by only 50 inmates in the last four years. In 2019, the occupancy rate for females (127.30 percent) which is the highest in the past four years.
The prison administration serves as an important part of the overall criminal justice system of the country. The past few years have seen a continuous rise in the inmate population, which the existing infrastructure has not been able to keep up with. This means that challenges like security and safety, hygiene issues, overcrowding, inadequate infrastructure have been real problems staring at various governments.