Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir on Tuesday said that 149 of the total 1,401 jails in the country had an overcrowding rate of more than 200 per cent as on December 2015 as per the data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau.
"In the Model Prison Manual 2016, the minimum accommodation space per prisoner in Sleeping Barracks suggested is 3.71 sq mt and 8.92 sq mt of ground area in Cells. No Central statistics are available on the actual space available to a prison inmate in different jails," Ahir said in a statement in response to a question raised by Sushil Kumar Singh, who represents Aurangabad (Bihar) in the Lok Sabha.
"Prisons is a state subject. However, a central scheme for modernisation of prisons, with a financial outlay of Rs 1,800 crores, was launched in 2002. Under this scheme, 125 new jails were constructed and 1,579 barracks were added to existing prisons."
Ahir said the government had introduced the concept of plea bargaining to address the problem of overcrowding in prisons.