Chaotic condition prevails in UP jails. Massive overcrowding, understaffing and rampant corruption have completely derailed the management. The presence of large number of Mafiosi has also badly affected the jail administration.
The State Jail Department data indicates that as against the capacity of nearly 44000 there are 85000 prisoners in 62 jails in the state. In some jails like Shahjehanpur, Moradabad, Fatehgarh and Deoria the numbers are four times more than the capacity.
Even as ten new jails are under construction, the existing ones are as old as more than 150 years, which according to a senior department officer require large-scale modernisation.
“In fact the government comes out of hibernation only after jail break,” commented the officer on the condition of anonymity. The situation is unlikely to improve without “de-crowding”, he said.
The crowding could be gauged from the fact that as against the provision of 40 sq-feet area for each prisoner, 150 to 200 prisoners are locked in each barrack.
The department with Rs 700 crore annual budget has been facing rampant corruption due to lack of facilities in jails.
“The prisoners bribe the jail officers for all sorts of facilities,” said the officer.
There is feeling in the department that rampant corruption could not be contained in the jails without their modernisation.
Interestingly there is no dearth of “well-connected” prisoners. At present, there are 11 MLAs and one MP in UP jails.
Chief Minister Mayawati has thus warned the officers to either improve the situation or face disciplinary action. She has directed the department to eliminate cops-Mafiosi nexus in the jails.
The criminals-turned-politicians, according to official sources, are running parallel administration in the jail.
In order to isolate one criminal-turned politician, the government shifted him from Allahabad to Laltipur jail but he provided shelter to local quarrying Mafiosi and started running stone business from jail.
Meanwhile, reviewing the situation, Mayawati has asked to intensify raids in the jails.
But the situation is unlikely to improve without strengthening the staff. As against the sanctioned posts (all categories) of 8132, the availability is 5958, leaving a vacancy of 2227 personnel. One prison guard is manning at least 25 prisoners.
When asked for comments the newly appointed IG (Prison) VK Gupta said massive exercise had been undertaken to improve the situation. He said the construction of ten new jails would help ease the pressure.
“We are extremely sensitive towards prisons problem and would rectify them,” he commented.
The daily movement of 8000 to 10,000 prisoners from jails for court appearance has also become major hazard for the department. Sources said presence of large numbers of criminals on “bailable offence” had further compounded the situation.
MP/MLAs in UP jails:
Ramakant Yadav, MP,
Mukhtar Ansari, Sripat Azad, Sher Singh, Jamuna Prasad Nishad, Anand Sen, Shekhar Tiwari, Amarmani Tripathi, Ashok Yadav, Shiv Pal, Chandra Bhan and Usmanul Haq.
55000 (Males), 2100 (Females) and 2700 (below 18 years)
24750 (Males), 750 (females), 170 (below 18 years), 1100 murder, 5000 robbery convicts and 113 facing death penalty.