Guwahati, Nov. 1: More than half the convicts lodged in jails across Assam are undergoing life imprisonment.
This was revealed by the latest prison statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau recently, which states that the percentage of convicts serving life sentence in the state was 59.7 in 2011. The report added that this was more than the national average — 53.6 per cent.
Besides Assam, the other two northeastern states where the share of convicts serving life sentences is more than the national average are Manipur (62.5 per cent) and Tripura (55 per cent).
In Assam, out of a total of 1,874 convicts serving life sentences, 60 are women, while in Manipur out of 20 such convicts, one is a woman and in Tripura out of 313 such convicts, nine are women.
Altogether 14 states and two union territories in the country have a higher percentage of prisoners undergoing life sentence than the national average, with Daman and Diu (100 per cent), Jharkhand (75.4 per cent) and Puducherry (71.5 per cent) topping the list.
In Arunachal Pradesh the number is 16.7 per cent, Meghalaya 6.2 per cent, Mizoram 1.3 per cent and Nagaland 22.3 per cent.
On inmate population and overcrowding in prisons, the report said the total number of inmates in jails across Assam was more than their authorised capacity. It means that most jails in the state are overcrowded.
According to the bureau’s 2011 figures, there are 8,203 jail inmates in Assam against the total available capacity of 7,485, signalling deterioration in the situation, as the state had 7,922 jail inmates against a capacity of 7,414 in 2010.
“The occupancy rate in Assam jails has gone up to 109.6 in 2011 from 106.9 in 2010,” the report said.
By occupancy rate, the bureau means the number of inmates accommodated in a jail against an authorised capacity of 100 inmates. If the occupancy rate is more than 100 per cent, then the bureau considers it overcrowding.
There are 30 jails in Assam, of which six are central jails, 21 district jails, one special jail in Nagaon, one open-air jail in Jorhat and one sub-jail in Haflong.
The situation is not that good in Meghalaya either, as the state had an occupancy rate of 107.5 in 2011. The overall occupancy rate, however, came down in 2011 from 118.1 in 2010. In 2011, the state’s jail’s had 570 inmates against an available capacity of 530.
According to the report, Arunachal Pradesh (98.2 per cent), Tripura (68 per cent), Mizoram (67.7 per cent), Manipur (66.7 per cent) and Nagaland (34.6 per cent) had satisfactorily managed the prison population during 2011.