Dutt may be one prisoner who has got a lot of media attention. His case should occasion a look at the conditions in our jails. Our jails are overcrowded, undertrials and convicted criminals share the same space, the facilities for women prisoners are dismal, and security is nowhere as tight as it should be as seen by the mysterious death of one of the accused in the Delhi gang rape case. The bad management of inmates by prison authorities has led to crimes inside prisons. By lagging on this front, India is violating the UN Human Rights Committee norms (and norms of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). According to a March 2011 report of the Asian Centre for Human Rights, more than 12,000 people have died in Indian prisons over the last decade — that’s an alarming three people a day.
Our overcrowded prisons and their poor living standards need to be looked into and changed if jails should actually be centres for reform and not last chance saloons from which there is no escape.