More than a Thousand Remain Prisoned Despite Completion of their Sentence

Many prisoners are unable to pay the imposed fine and thus aren't let go. Only 12 states and UTs don't hold prisoners who finished their sentences.


Every year, the National Crime Records Bureau makes the statistics of inmates in different jails of the country public. The NCRB’s report Prison Statistics in India contains almost all the statistics related to the prisoners. But in response to a question posed by Phulo Devi Netam in Rajya Sabha, the government gave an interesting answer. Netam asked the government to give data of the detention of prisoners 1) imprisoned in excess of the jail’s capacity 2) whose sentences have been halved 3) who have been sentenced to full punishment and 4) under consideration.

In response, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kishan Reddy released the data till 31 December 2019. According to these, the total capacity of inmates in the country’s jails is 4,03,739. But, there are 4,78,600 inmates, so 74,861 are imprisoned in excess to the capacity.

The states with overcrowded jails include Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Punjab, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Daman-Diu and Delhi. In 14 states and union territories (UTs), the number of prisoners is below capacity.

More than a thousand prisoners in jail despite completion of the punishment

The Government also replied that 1,031 people in the country have completed their sentences but are still in jail. They are unable to pay the imposed fine and thus aren’t let go. Only 12 states and UTs don’t hold prisoners who finished their sentences.

The highest number of such prisoners are in Uttar Pradesh (192 prisoners). This is followed by Mizoram (114), Kerala (111), Assam (104), Madhya Pradesh (78), Punjab (67) and Rajasthan (66).

More Inmates Under Consideration than Guilty

Government statistics show that a large number of prisoners in jails aren’t convicted; of a total of 4,78,000 inmates, 3,30,000 are under consideration. That is, they haven’t been proven guilty.

Also Read: Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims Overrepresented in Prisons: NCRB Data


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June 2024


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