India

Do we need to take a look at India's prisons?

01 Dec 2016 | By Shiladitya Ray
The state of Indian prisons

The Punjab prison break is the second prison break to have happened in India in the course of a month.

The last prison break happened on 31st October in Madhya Pradesh, where eight members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) group escaped Bhopal Central Jail and were gunned down by police.

So, what is wrong with the prison system?

In context: The state of Indian prisons

01 Dec 2016Do we need to take a look at India's prisons?

Madhya Pradesh has a history of jailbreaks

Madhya Pradesh is not new to major jailbreaks. In 2011, nine prisoners spiked the tea of prison guards in the state's Dabra Prison and escaped. In 2013, five inmates smashed a bathroom of window of the dilapidated Khandwa Prison and escaped.
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The infrastructure problem in Indian jails

InfrastructureThe infrastructure problem in Indian jails

According to government data, more than 180 prisoners have escaped in over 40 jailbreaks in the last two years in India.

Underlying the jailbreak problem is the problem of infrastructure in Indian prisons.

Prisons are generally notoriously under-resourced and very overcrowded, and to put things in perspective, nearly one-third of the positions for prison guards and officers are lying vacant.

Retired official saw jailbreaks coming

Two years ago, retired jail official GK Agarwal had predicted a "big accident" at the Bhopal Central Prison owing to the jail's "structure, vulnerable points, imprudent security and staff's deplorable situation".

OvercrowdingOvercrowding in Indian prisons

According to India's National Crime Bureau, some 1,400 jails house 420,000 inmates against a maximum capacity of 366,781.

This degree of overcrowding, coupled with a lack of staff in prisons, results in inmates doing everything inside prisons from cooking to counting inmates to office jobs.

The problem of overcrowding also puts pressure on the already meagre number of prison guards in service.

12 Dec 2016Cops to be accountable for wrongful confinement

A People's Tribunal has suggested that police should be held responsible for wrongfully confining people on terror charges; the panel is headed by Retd Justice AP Shah.

The panel suggested that the police should take a rights based approach and compensate victims who have been wrongfully confined.

The panel's report stated that "police officials should be made criminally liable for the malicious acts."