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Indian jails suffer from 29.2 per cent overcrowding with the total prison population at a staggering 3,84,753 which is 0.034 per cent of the total population of the country. The home ministry last week reviewed the conditions of prisons and noted that most states have not been able to reduce the number of undertrial prisoners who are constituting 67 per cent of the total prison population. The Centre’s concern comes at a time when the Danish high court has refused to extradite Purulia arms drop case accused Kim Davy to face trial citing alleged poor prison and human rights conditions in India. The government had strongly objected to the observations made by the Danish high court.
The home ministry last week held a video conferencing with the prison authorities asking them to take urgent steps to utilise the central funds and show results in terms of constructing new jails, reducing overcrowding, upgrading correctional staff and improvement of water and sanitation in prisons. The Centre had provided `1,800 crore to states under the Modernisation of Prisons scheme but it was noted that most states have not been able to achieve the targets. “While the trend of overcrowding in prisons has witnessed a decline, the states need to build more prisons as well as improve the jail conditions,” a senior government official said. Presently, there are around 1356 prisons in the country with an authorised capacity of 2,97,777 persons.
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