Too many inmates, too little staff in state jails

Visakhapatnam: Andhra Pradesh prisons are understaffed by at least 24 per cent and central prisons in the state are overcrowded by 10 per cent. The problem of overcrowding in central prisons in the state continues to persist, as per the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data on prisons in India 2018.
Andhra Pradesh has four central prisons at Vizag, Rajahmundry, Nellore and Kadapa, which together held 4,212 prisoners in 2018 — 4,049 male and 163 female (both convicts and under-trials) with an occupancy rate of 110.44 per cent against its capacity of 3,814. In 2017, the four central jails in the state had 4,690 prisoners and 4,126 in 2016.
The overall occupancy rate in all the jails (central jails, sub-jails, district jails, women’s jails, open jails, altogether 105 jails) in Andhra Pradesh is 79.5 per cent in 2018. A total of 6,988 prisoners, including 414 female inmates were in various prisons in the state against its capacity of 8,786.
Superintendent of Vizag Central Prison S Rahul said convicts account for 40 per cent of central jail population, while undertrials and remand prisoners’ account for 60 per cent. Over 2,370 convicts were lodged in the central jails and a few other jails in the state. A majority of the convicts (1,574) were sentenced in murder cases while 163 had committed rape.
Senior advocate K Muralidhar said some undertrial prisoners involved in ganja transportation and a few other cases were struggling to get bail due to various reasons and so were stuck in prison.
Members of Visakhapatnam Bar Association (VBA) said overcrowding in the jails is also a violation of human rights as it is the responsibility of the government to provide reasonable space in the prisons.
Apart from over-crowding in prisons, staff shortage of staff at all levels of the system too is a cause for concern.
As per National Crime Records Bureau, the sanctioned staff strength in state prisons in 2018 was 2,646, but the actual strength was 1,997 (649 vacancies).

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