A few months ago, prison officials chalked out a plan to build five new jails as a measure to curb overcrowding in prisons in parts of the state other than Mumbai.
At present, three of the five jails — Nandurbar, Washim and Jalna — are ready and have been handed over to the prison department. The other two prisons — in Gadchiroli and Sindhudurg — will be completed in the coming months.
Apart from the newly-added district prisons, Maharashtra has nine central prisons, 27 district prisons, 10 open prisons, one open colony and 172 sub-jails.
Prison department sources stressed the need for more jails in the state, given the rising crime rate. Occupancy rates in jail vary on a day-to-day basis, depending on the number of undertrials given bail.
According to a source in the department, there were 28,000 inmates in jails across the state at the end of October against the total capacity of 25,000.
According to the 2013 report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Maharashtra had an occupancy rate of 111.6% in central and district prisons.
NCRB’s all-India statistics indicate maximum overcrowding in district jails (134.7%) followed by central jail (121.2%) in 2013.
“We already have possession of new jails at Nandurbar, Washim and Jalna. We hope to get possession of the Gadchiroli jail soon. And by January-end we could get possession of the new jail in Sindhudurg,” said additional director general of police (prisons) Meeran Borwankar.