HYDERABAD: While the country grapples with overcrowded prisons, Telangana state claims to be below its maximum capacity based on results of an inquiry into the number of prisoners currently placed. The total authorised accommodation for the entire prison system is 6,848. While the total number of males (convicts and remand) sums up to 5,425, total number of females (convicts and remand) is 431, thus, totaling to 5,856 prisoners.
The difference betw-een the total capacity and current occupancy is 992. Many factors contribute to the prison population being on the lower side. One important factor is that the prison takes up initiatives that help prisoners be occupied. The Vidyadana Yojana, an educational initiative, encourages prisoners to be involved in activities that spur development, leading to many prisoners being able to qualify for good behaviour.
Prisons DIG, B. Saidaiah, said, “The prisoners are educated and disciplined during their sentence in the prison. This ensures that they stay out of trouble and enables them to request for a lesser sentence based on their individual cases. The education of prisoners also reduces the revolving door effect, where prisoners leave and return.” In addition to the reduced current capacity in jails, there is major drop in the number of deaths in prisons.
In 2014, the number of deaths in prisons was 56, followed by 32, 24 and 17 and this year the number was at an all-time low of 6. Director General of Prisons, VK Singh, said, “Prisoners often get depressed inside and are unable to cope with the new lifestyle. Based on experience, prisons are now ensuring that inmates are given the best environment for personal growth, be it a holistic environment or counselling for those who are feeling anxious.”