Prison Reforms in India

Prison Reforms in India

#GS-02 Governance

For Prelims

Committees for Prison Reforms in India

Justice Mulla Committee 1983

Major recommendations

  • Government should create an All India cadre for prison staff.
  • Bring prison under the concurrent list.
  • Government should form a National Policy on Prisons.
  • Government to use alternatives to imprisonment such as community service, etc
Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer committee on women prisoners 1987

Major recommendations

  • Separate prisons with women employees alone for women offenders.
  • Necessary provisions to ensure the dignity of women even after conviction.
Justice Amaitava Roy panel on prison reforms 2018

Major recommendations

For overcrowding
  • Special fast-track courts should be set up in order to deal with petty offences.
  • There must be at least one lawyer for every 30 prisoners.
For Understaffing
  • The Supreme Court should pass directions to initiate the recruitment process to fill vacancies
  • Use of videoconferencing for trial must be encouraged.
For Prisoners
  • Every new prisoner should be granted one free phone call a day to his family members through his first week in jail.
  • Alternative punishments instead of incarceration needs to be explored.


For Mains

Need for Prison Reforms

  • Prison Statistics India report of the National Crime Records Bureau has said that three out of four prisoners in Indian jails are undertrials.
  • India prisons have an average occupancy ratio of 133% with Chhattisgarh (222.5%), Madhya Pradesh (208%), and Uttar Pradesh (168%) being the the most overburdened.
  • India’s prisons are critically understaffed with having a vacancy ratio of 33%.
  • The largest number of vacancies are found at the officer and correctional staff level.

What can be done

  • The police forces can be made more sensitive and be trained in utilising emerging technologies.
  • Technological solutions like biometrics etc could be leveraged to reduce trial time and hence reduce number of undertrials.
  • The traditional policing mechanisms like foot patrols etc can be strengthened further to reduce the occurrence of crime.

Source “PM calls for prison reforms and repeal of obsolete laws

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