- Most of the prisoners are under-trials, involved in ganja and red-sanders smuggling.
Visakhapatnam: The Central jails in Andhra Pradesh are crowded by 122.7 per cent above their capacity. According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) Prison Statistics in India-2017 report, the jails hold as many as 4,690 prisoners against a capacity of 3,814 until December 31, 2017.
Andhra Pradesh has four Central prisons. They are in Kadapa, Nellore, Rajahmundry and Vizag city. In 2016, the four jails in the state had 4,126 prisoners with an occupancy rate of 111.69 per cent (3,694 inmates).
A senior advocate with the Visakhapatnam Bar Association (VBA) K. Muralidhar said that pending court cases is a significant reason for the overcrowding of prisons in the state.
Over 5 lakh cases are pending in various courts in Andhra Pradesh. More than 60 per cent of the prison inmates in the Central jails in Andhra Pradesh are under-trials.
Some under-trial prisoners struggle to get bail bonds or provide sureties as they are poor said Muralidhar.
The Central prison in Vizag city is overcrowded with ganja smugglers, including inter-state ganja smugglers. Of the over 1,200 prisoners in Vizag Central jail, around 400 remand prisoners were involved in ganja smuggling.
Similarly, in the Kadapa Central prison, over 40 per cent of the remand prisoners were involved in red sanders smuggling and other smuggling activities.
A senior police officer said that most of the ganja smugglers do not get bail as no one is ready to give surety for them.
Under the conviction category, the four Central jails in Andhra Pradesh had 2,294 prisoners, including 70 female prisoners. A total of 2,349 under-trial prisoner, including 94 females were in the four prisons in the state.
The data also revealed that with the average occupancy of 115 per cent capacity, prisons (Central jails, sub-jails and district jails) in the country remained congested and overcrowded.
Though the Supreme Court has been directing the state governments to focus on prison reforms to address the overcrowding in jails, most of the states failed to introduce changes.