Pune: Overcrowding In Maharashtra State Prisons To Be Addressed With Strategic Decision To Increase Open Jail Capacity

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Mubarak Ansari

Pune, 3rd March 2023: The prison administration in the state has made a strategic decision to send prisoners under certain sentences to open jails, providing them with several benefits and alleviating the problem of overcrowding in the prisons.

Recently, the administration announced that convicts who have completed their sentence and are eligible for open prisons will be transferred to open jails, and convicts above the age of 60 will also be classified in open prisons. This decision is expected to improve the quality of life of prisoners and reduce overcrowding in jails.

To prevent overcrowding, only inmates who are eligible for open jails will be transferred to them, and the number of such inmates will not exceed 20% of the capacity of the open jails. Convicts sentenced to more than one year, except those convicted of organized crime, anti-national activities, terrorist activities, Naxalism, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act offences, rape, contract murders, and other serious crimes, will be eligible for open prisons after serving one year in jail or five years in case of life imprisonment.

Open prisons offer many benefits to convicts, including a general amnesty of 30 days after serving a month’s sentence, face-to-face visits with friends and relatives, and work opportunities in the agriculture and factory departments of the open prison. As prisoners serve their sentence in the open air, their quality of life improves significantly.

Currently, there are 19 open jails in the state with a capacity of 1,512 men and 100 women. In 2022, 1,571 male prisoners and 45 female prisoners were eligible for open prisons, but many could not go due to the lack of infrastructure in all open jails.

Therefore, in a meeting chaired by Additional Director General of Police and Inspector General (Prisons and Correctional Services) Amitabh Gupta, a strategic decision has been taken to increase the detention capacity of open jails by approximately 20 percent.

The decision to classify convicts in open jails after completing their sentence and increasing the detention capacity of open jails is expected to provide significant relief to the overcrowded state prisons and benefit the prisoners by improving their quality of life.


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