Of the total 4,78,600 prison inmates in the country, 3,15,409 or 65.90 per cent belong to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and the Other Backward Class categories, according to government data presented in Parliament on Wednesday.
The data was presented by G Kishan Reddy, Minister of State for Home Affairs and was based on the official records compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) updated till 31 December 2019.
The data was presented as a response to Rajya Sabha Member Syed Nasir Hussain’s request to know whether the majority of prisoners in jails are Dalits or Muslims, their numbers category wise and if the government is taking any concrete measures to rehabilitate and educate them.
The figures revealed that precisely 34.01 per cent of the total strength that is 1,62,800 prisoners are of OBC category. Around 20.74 per cent equals to 99,273 people belong to SC category, followed by 11.14 per cent which amounts to 53,336 prisoners are of ST category.
Classifying the total number of inmates in custody on the basis of gender, it was found that 4,58,687 (95.83 per cent) are men while women constitute 19,913 (4.16 per cent). Further classifying the number of women category wise, it was found that 6,360 number of women are OBC, while 4,467 women belong to SC which followed by 2,281 women who are ST and the remaining 5,236 women lie in the category ‘others’.
Broadly looking at the data provided among all the States and Union Territories, Uttar Pradesh tops the list to hold the highest number of prisoners. Out of total prisoners in the country, 1,01,297 prisoners are in jails of Uttar Pradesh including a maximum percentage of minorities, Dalits and Muslims.
Madhya Pradesh stands next to it with 44,603 prisoners while Bihar controls 39,814 numbers of prisoners.
With furnished data as a response to Hussain’s query about the position of State Government on efforts to rehabilitate and educate prisoners, Reddy stated that prisoners held by different States are the responsibility of the particular State. That State will look after the issues related to their detained prisoners with the support and intervention of Center Government.
Moreover, the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued and circulated a Model Prison Manual in May 2016 to all the States and Union Territories in order to handle affairs related to prisoners in respective jails. The manual includes chapters on rehabilitation, education, vocational training, skill development programs, welfare and aftercare or prisoners.