Undertrials account for 2/3 of inmates in state jails

With 3/4 posts for correctional officers vacant, Gujarat has one guard for every 12,500 inmates

Ahmedabad: About two-thirds of all inmates in Gujarat’s prisons are undertrials, according to a recent report, which also says that with three-fourths of the posts for corrections officers lying vacant, there is only one prison guard for every 12,500 inmates.

The ‘India Justice Report 2019’, published by the Tata Trust, says both the vacancies and the number of undertrials have been increasing steadily over the past five years.

However, Gujarat is not alone in being unable to fill correctional officer positions. The national average vacancy of correctional staff stands at nearly 40%.

In addition, at 5.5%, Gujarat has one of the lowest representations of women in prison staff among states with large population size. This was below the national average of 10%.

This is a considerable change from previous years. Between 2012-2016 and 2013-2017, Gujarat was the only ranked state to reduce its vacancies in the key pillar positions surveyed, while its share of women in police
and prisons also increased over a five-year period.

Chief Editor of the India Justice Report Maja Daruwala said, “We hope this report will encourage more coordinated conversations between the various duty holders to bring about early improvements in ease of accessing justice services that will be of benefit to the public.”

The report is an initiative of Tata Trusts in collaboration with Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause.