Over 1.3 lakh illiterate, 1 lakh Dalit prisoners in India: Centre to RS

The MHA also informed Rajya Sabha that it circulated a Prison Manual to all States/UTs in 2016 for rehabilitation and education of inmates


On February 10, Rajya Sabha Member Syed Nasir Hussain asked the Government whether the majority of prisoners in India are Muslims and Dalits. He also questioned the Ministry whether it has taken steps to “rehabilitate and educate prisoners rather than keeping them locked away in jails”.

The Centre’s response, provided in a written statement by G. Kishan Reddy disclosed that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) compiles prison statistics reported to it by States and Union Territories (UTs) and publishes the same in its annual report “Prison Statistics India”.

In a caste-wise breakdown of statistics, the Home Affairs Ministry revealed that Indian jails house 99,273 Dalit, 53,336 Scheduled Tribe, 1,62,800 OBC prisoners/undertrials. Religion-wise, the Indian prisons account for:

85,307 Muslims 

18,001 Sikhs 

13,782 Christians 

3,21,155 Hindus 

and 261 other categories.

The Union Home Ministry also provided State/UT-wise details of education of jail inmates as on December 31, 2019. There are about 1,32,729 illiterate, 1,03,036 10th grade pass, 30,201 graduate, 8,085 post graduate, 5,677 diploma holding prisoners. Shockingly, 1,98,872 prisoners have not even cleared matriculation examinations.

Providing details about the education facilities in prisons, the Centre said that in 2019, nearly 47, 860 inmates received elementary education, 11,917 people pursued higher education, 10,047 people took up computer courses and 44,438 inmates benefitted from adult education.

For proper rehabilitation and growth of prisoners, the Government stated to the Rajya Sabha, “To supplement the efforts of States in this regard, the Ministry of Home Affairs had circulated a Model Prison Manual to all States and Union Territories in May 2016, which has dedicated chapters on rehabilitation and education of prison inmates such as ‘Education of Prisoners’, ‘Vocational training and skill development programmes’, ‘Welfare of Prisoners’, ‘After-Care and Rehabilitation’ etc. MHA has also issued various advisories to the States/UTs for rehabilitation of inmates and providing them educational facilities.”

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