The construction of two new barracks has begun at Bombay Central Prison, better known as Arthur Road jail.
The new barracks will increase the jail’s capacity by roughly 400 inmates and though they will not solve the overcrowding problem there, they will go some way towards easing it.
Arthur Road jail currently has room for 804 inmates. According to statistics released at the end of February, it houses a whopping 2,600 inmates, over three times the stated capacity. The number of inmates increases daily.
Additional director general (prisons) BK Upadhyay confirmed that the department is building two new barracks at Arthur Road jail and a few other central prisons. “The new barracks at Arthur Road jail will accommodate around 400 inmates,” he added.
A source in the prison department said the problem with Arthur Road jail that it has very little scope for expansion owing to its location in the heart of the city.
Overcrowding will remain a problem there – and at the women’s jail in Byculla – until a new prison is built.
The prison department is in the process of acquiring land at Mankhurd for a new jail. However, this is expected to take a long time. Overcrowding is a problem in prisons across the state.
As of the end of February, the state’s prisons were 124% over capacity.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s figures for 2014, Maharashtra’s jails were 110% over capacity that year.