By the end of 2016, Indian prisons had an occupancy ratio of 113.7% with male occupancy at 117% and female occupancy at 71%. While 2/3rd of the inmates are under trial prisoners, 25% of the under trial prisoners are under detention for more than a year.  


The sorry state of Indian prisons was highlighted multiple times in the past. The latest data shared by the government in the Lok Sabha doesn’t paint any different picture. The occupancy rate in Indian prisons continues to be over 110% and more than 2/3 rd of the inmates are under trial prisoners.


Female Occupancy at 71%, but wide variations within States

The total available capacity for female inmates in prisons across India is slightly more than 26000 by the end of 2016. The actual inmate population of female prisoners as on 31st December, 2016 was 18498, an occupancy rate of 71%.  But there are wide variations within states. The occupancy ratio of females is over 180% in the state of Chhattisgarh. For a capacity of 582, there are 982 female inmates in the prisons of Chhattisgarh as on 31st December 2016. Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal & Delhi are the other states where the female occupancy ratio is more than 100%.


overcrowded prisons in India_inmate population female (2016)


Male Occupancy at 117%

The total available capacity of male inmates across the country is 3.54 lakh whereas the actual inmate population is 4.14 lakh taking the occupancy ratio to 117%. There are only 10 states where the occupancy ratio of male inmates is less than 100%. In five States/UTs, the occupancy ratio is more than 150%. In Delhi for instance, there are 13506 male inmates against a capacity of 7418.


overcrowded prisons in India_Inmate population male


Occupancy Rate more than 100% in 17 States

The total occupancy rate of inmates in Indian prisons stood at 113.7% for the year ending 31st December 2016.  This primarily on account of overcrowding of the male prisoners.


overcrowded prisons in India_occupancy rate


Among the states, the occupancy rate is more than 100% in 17 states and over 150% in the 3 states of Chhattisgarh, Delhi & Uttar Pradesh. Of the bigger states, the least occupancy rate was in Tamil Nadu (65.7%).


overcrowded prisons in India_total state wise occupancy rate


A quarter of the Under trial prisoners are under detention for more than a year

Out of 4.33 lakh prison inmates by the end of 2016, more than 2.93 lakh are under trial prisoners. More than a lakh of these under trial prisoners (36.8%) are under detention for less than 3 months. About 1/6th of all the under trial prisoners are under detention for a period between 3 to 6 months and another 1/6th for a period between 6 to 12 months. Close to a quarter (25%) of the under trial prisoners are under detention for more than a year. Though only 1.3% or 3927 under trial prisoners are under detention for more than 5 years, bulk of them are in Uttar Pradesh. In fact, more than 44% of the under trial prisoners who are under detention for more than 5 years are in Uttar Pradesh. Of those under trial prisoners under detention for a period between 3 & 5 years, more than 50% are in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra & Jharkhand.


overcrowded prisons in India_Number of UTPs