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Jail Administration in India

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Prison is known by different names in different countries like ‘Correctional Facilities’, ‘Detention Centres’, ‘Jails’, ‘Remand Centres’ etc. Prisonization symbolizes a system of punishment and a sort of institutional placement for convicts and undertrials during the period of trial. There is no society without crime and criminals. That is why prison is indispensable for every country. Punishing the offenders is a primary function of civil society. The objective of punishment can be achieved by imprisonment.

‘Prisons’ is a State subject under State List of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. The management and administration of Prisons falls exclusively in the domain of the State Governments, and is governed by the Prisons Act, 1894 and the Prison Manuals of the respective State Governments. Although India follows the international obligations and guidelines with respect to the care of prisoners and various steps are being taken towards prison reform

The modern prison in India originated with the suggestions of TB Macaulay in 1835. A committee namely Prison Discipline Committee, was appointed, which submitted its report on 1838. The committee recommended increased rigorousness of treatment while rejecting all humanitarian needs and reforms for the prisoners. Following the recommendations of the Macaulay Committee between 1836-1838, Central Prisons were constructed from 1846. The contemporary Prison administration in India is thus a legacy of British rule.

Following the Supreme Court direction (1996) in Ramamurthy vs State of Karnataka to bring about uniformity of prison laws and prepare a draft model prison manual, a committee was set up in the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D). The jail manual drafted by the committee was accepted by the Central government and circulated to State governments in late December 2003.

Supreme Court as late as 1979 in Dharambeer v State of U.P. advised for Open Prison.

Union Home Minister approves New Prison Manual 2016 

We shall comment on Delhi Jail Manual and thereby elaborate the system .

 Commentary Delhi Jail Manual 





Rajastan Parole Rules 1958


The Model Prison Manual 1960 is the guiding principle for prison management in India. On the lines of the Model Prison Manual 1960, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, in 1972, appointed a working group on prisons. It brought out in its report the need for a national policy on prisons. It also made an important recommendation with regard to the classification and treatment of offenders and laid down certain principles.

State/UT wise and jail-type wise number of jails, their location[PDF]

Prisoners are attached with Aadhar Biometric System

Statutes connected with Jail administration

Indian Penal Code, 1860[IPC]

  • Section 53 of the IPC

Prisons Act, 1894

The Prisoners Act, 1900

Prisons Act, 1894, is the basis on which the present jail management and administration is operated in India.

Repatriation of Prisoners Act 2003

The Prisoners (Attendance in Courts) Act, 1955.

The Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950.

The Prisoners (Attendance in Courts) Act, 1955

The Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920.

Mental Health Care Act 2017

No-Type of Prison-Description-Number of Prisons – Capacity of Prisons
1.    Central Jails/ larger capacity with rehabilitation facilities /123/1,37,249

2.    District Jails/Main prisons in states and union territories not having central jails/333/1,24,768
3.    Sub Jails/Small prisons in Sub-Divisonal levels/809/50,908

4.    Women Jails/For Women only/19/4,271

  1.   Open Jails/For specific good convicts-prisoners engaged in Agricultural Activities/44 /3,766

6.Borstal Schools/Minors’ Jail-Rehabiliation centres-Vocational Training-Education/21/2,218

  1. Special Jails /High security-special arrangements-for  convicts of terrorism, insurgency and violent crimes/ 30 /9,279

8.   Other Jails /Not under the above 7 types/3 / 323[Data date 2017 Apl]


Many developed countries, like Finland which is a pioneer in the open jail concept, have introduced open prisons. There are no bars or no uniforms. Instead of old style cells, there are rooms with bed, neat toilets, kitchen, televisions, etc. Prisoners go for long walks, tend the garden, and more importantly they are paid reasonably for their work. The advantage is that it makes detainees better prepared to return to society.

The management cost of such prisons is 33 per cent lower than the traditional prisons. Hoshangabad, in Madhya Pradesh has an open prison built on 17 acres of land, where convicts during the last two years of their sentence are transferred from other prisons in the State to make them familiar with reformed environs. Prisoners go out for work daily like normal people do from their homes and return at the end of the day.

Management of the Juvenile Convicts under 2015 Act

Jail Petitions

Right of the prisoner guiding principles

  • A person in prison does not become a ‘Non-Person”
  • A person in prison is entitled to all human rights within the limitations of imprisonment.
  • There is no justification for aggravating the suffering already inherent in the process of incarceration.

Nelson Mandela Rules 2015 [UNO]


Basic principles

Rule 1

All prisoners shall be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings. No prisoner shall be subjected to, and all prisoners shall be protected from, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, for which no circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification. The safety and security of prisoners, staff, service providers and visitors shall be ensured at all times.

Rule 4

The purposes of a sentence of imprisonment or similar measures deprivative of a person’s liberty are primarily to protect society against crime and to reduce recidivism. Those purposes can be achieved only if the period of imprisonment is used to ensure, so far as possible, the reintegration of such persons into society upon release so that they can lead a law-abiding and self-supporting life

Police atrocities in Jail and Torture

Photos are collected from India Today

Image result for Indian Jails Gif

Execution Cell



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