Vijayawada: According to the latest prison statistics, more than 75 per cent of the convicts lodged in Andhra Pradesh jails are either illiterate or semi-illiterate.

As many as 2,788 convicts are lodged in the four central prisons of the state at Vizag, Rajahmundry, Nellore, and Kadapa in the state. According to the 2019 data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 21.84 per cent (609) of the prisoners are illiterate while 54.9 per cent (1,531) have not even completed Class X.

The data also showed that 11.58 percent of the prisoners (323) had passed Class X but had not graduated, while only 6.3 per cent (177) prisoners are graduates and only 2.36 per cent (66) are postgraduates. Also, 2.9 per cent (82) of the prisoners have a technical degree or a diploma.

Swaroop B, an advocate, said that graduates and postgraduates are also involved in crimes like smuggling ganja, property offenses, and cybercrimes. However, they manage to escape the police while only a few are convicted.

The latest data also revealed that the Central prisons in Andhra Pradesh are crowded by over 12 per cent. In 2019, the four Central prisons in the state together had 4,232 prisoners (both convicts and under-trials) against its capacity of 3,764.

The police officers and advocates said that some under-trial prisoners stay in the prisons as they are unable to find the money for bail or to provide sureties to get bail.

The overall occupancy rate in all the 105 jails, including Central jails, sub-jails, district jails, women’s prison, open jails, in the state is 86.2 per cent. There were 7,579 inmates, including 466 female inmates, in various prisons in the state against its capacity of 8,789.

In the coming days, most of the jails will be overcrowded as no steps have been taken to increase their capacity. Overcrowding in the jails will amount to violation of human rights, the legal fraternity said.

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