The jails in Odisha continue to remain overcrowded and packed with inmates beyond the capacity despite Orissa High Court’s direction for decongestion.
If the Government’s admission to the Assembly is any indication, around 45% of jails in the State are overcrowded.
Of the 87 jails, 39 of them house inmates beyond their capacity, the Minister of State for Home Tusharkanti Behera replying to a question from BJD MLA Umakanta Samantray told the Odisha Assembly on Monday.
Currently, there are 20,260 prisoners lodged in jails across Odisha. Among them, there are 16,876 under-trail male prisoners and 623 female prisoners. Male prisoners waiting for capital punishment are 11. The number of prisoners serving life imprisonment is 1543, the Minister said.
Last year, the Orissa High Court directed the State government to expedite measures to decongest the overcrowded prisons and formulate a comprehensive action plan for improved living conditions for inmates.
In view of the overcrowding, the court had also ruled that the government buildings may also be converted into temporary prisons to lodge the prisoners keeping in view virus infection outbreaks in jails across the State.
The Amicus Curiae appointed by the Orissa High Court then to oversee the living conditions in the jails and correctional homes had found that most of the jails housed prisoners more than the capacity.