For 967 prisoners, Burail jail has only four medical personnel.(HT PHOTO)
For 967 prisoners, Burail jail has only four medical personnel.(HT PHOTO)

Burail jail’s health care worst among all UTs in country: NCRB report

Other UTs such as Delhi fare comparatively better with 248 medical officials for nearly 15,161 prisoners, which means that each officials looks after around 61 inmates
By Shub Karman Dhaliwal | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON OCT 24, 2019 12:52 AM IST

With just four medical personnel for 967 prisoners, the Model jail in Burail has the worst prison healthcare system among all Union territories (UTs) in the country, revealed the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB, 2017) report released recently. This means there is only one medical personnel for 241 prisoners.

Other UTs such as Delhi fare comparatively better with 248 medical officials for nearly 15,161 prisoners, which means that each officials looks after around 61 inmates. Andaman and Nicobar Islands has six officials, each having around 29 inmates under his or her care. The second worst performer is Puducherry, which has only two health care officials for 262 prisoners.

This is worrying as health care officials have the task of taking care of the general well-being of prisoners, besides keeping a check on drug addiction.

ONE CORRECTIONAL OFFICER FOR 967 INMATES

Chandigarh also fares poorly in terms of strength of correctional staff members with just one officer for 967 prisoners. Correctional officers are crucial in ensuring the rehabilitation and mental well-being of prisoners, besides providing them help in taking up jobs and vocational training and getting rid of chemical dependency. They also play a key role in keeping a check on jail violence and confrontations. Sources say Chandigarh does not have an authorised correctional officer and the prison welfare officer performs this duty.

Delhi does not fare any better with six correctional officer, each having the charge of 2,526 inmates.

Andaman and Nicobar Island has one correctional officer for 178 prisoners. 

Deputy director of institute of correctional administration, Dr Upneet Lalli said, “We need more people to perform, correctional and health care duties in prisons. Rehabilitation of inmates is a must and should be a priority for administration. Moreover, the presence of woman guards needs to be increased to resolve the complex issues of women prisoners.” 

She added, “Recently, the administration had sought approval from Union ministry of home affairs to increase the staff strength in jails. Hopefully, it will be granted.”

MOVING FORWARD

For the first time, the NCRB data does not categorise prisoners in terms of castes and religion. The previous reports had separate heads showing the number of Muslim, Dalit and tribal prisoners in India. Dalits, Muslims and tribals form about 38% of India’s total population. Of these, 55% were behind bars in 2015.

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