The
Prison Statistics report of the NCRB provides data on various facets of the
prison system in India. As per the 2017 report, 378 prisoners escaped from
custody. 95 of them escaped in Gujarat while 48 in Uttar Pradesh. On the other
hand, 10 of the 15 jail breaks reported in 2017 took place in West Bengal.

Most of us watch jailbreak
scenes in movies in awe where the hero or villain tricks the guards and
escapes. Have you imagined that jail breaks do happen in real life? Ever
thought how it is that the inmates escape in spite of the tight security and
round the clock surveillance?

Annually, a few
hundred offenders manage to escape Indian jails. However, some of them are
caught and arrested again. In the Prison
Statistics of India
, the annual report
released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), data on jail breaks and
escapes is provided every year since 2004. This story takes a closer look at
the numbers presented in the Prison Statistics report of 2017.

What is the difference between Police custody and Judicial
custody?

Section 167 of the
Code
of Criminal Procedure
lists the provisions for
holding a person in custody. Both police
and judicial custody
have the objective of
keeping the suspect/accused under the supervision of police in order to prevent
them from committing further crimes or escaping or tampering with evidence while
the investigation is under progress. However, in police custody, a police
officer detains an offender or a suspect on his/her own call. A judicial
custody is said to have taken place if the detention is as per the orders of
the magistrate and the accused is usually lodged in jail.

378 prisoners escaped from lawful custody in 2017

Number of
prisoners who escaped
while under judicial custody and police custody have been recorded separately
in the report. In 2017 alone, a total of 378 prisoners have escaped. Of this,
163 have escaped from police custody and remaining from judicial custody.

Uttar Pradesh accounted
for 24% (39) of the prisoners who escaped from police custody. Punjab reported
10% (17) of escapees from police custody while Andhra Pradesh reported 9% (15)
of the total. Apart from these states, in terms of numbers, Kerala, Tamil Nadu
and Maharashtra have reported more than 10 escapees from police custody alone
in 2017.

Gujarat alone accounted for 62% of the escapees who
escaped from outside the prison premises

In the year 2017, 215
prisoners escaped from judicial custody. 70 of them escaped from inside the
prison premises while the remaining 145 escaped from outside the prison. A
total of 9 each from Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan had escaped from inside the
prison premises.

Gujarat alone
accounted for 90 escapees out of the total 145 reported to have escaped from
outside the prison premises in 2017. This amounts to 62% of total escapees from
outside the prison. 11 escapees were reported from West Bengal under this
category.

Maximum number of escapees were reported from Gujarat
followed by Uttar Pradesh

In terms of
state-wise numbers, 95 prisoners in Gujarat were reported to have escaped, the
highest for any state.  Uttar Pradesh
(48) with half the number of escapees compared to Gujarat came in second in
this aspect. These two states alone accounted for 38% of the total escapees
reported in India in 2017.

44% of the escapees were re-arrested in India in 2017

Only 168 of the
escapees out of the total 378 have been re-arrested in 2017. The maximum number
of re-arrest of escapees has been reported in Gujarat. If we look at the rate
of re-arrest in India, only 44% of the escapees have been arrested again.  Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have re-arrested 92%
each. (By rate, we refer to the percentage of escapees arrested in a state
divided by the total number of escapees in the state
)

Number of inmates escaping prisons in declining

If we look at the
trend in the number of escapees since 2004, it is evident that the number is
falling gradually. However, the number was exceptionally high in 2007 and then 2016.
The number of re-arrests has not seen any significant difference. The highest
rate of re-arrest recorded so far is in 2017.

Inmate-Staff ratio is very high in Uttar Pradesh

The number of
inmates each correctional staff attend is high in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
While in Uttar Pradesh each correctional staff has to attend to 48,191 inmates,
in Gujarat each staff has attend to 13,011 inmates. In the remaining states,
the numbers are much smaller.

Uttar Pradesh also
has a high inmate- staff ratio. There are 14 inmates per prison staff in Uttar
Pradesh which is twice the national average of seven (7) inmates per prison
staff.  The maximum number of inmates in
India are in the prisons of Uttar Pradesh.

Two thirds of the total jail breaks in 2017 were
reported in West Bengal

Resorting to
forcible means to escape prisons which result in injury, are the category of
crimes recorded under the head of jail
breaks
. A total of 15 jail breaks were
recorded in 2017, 10 of which were reported in West Bengal. One incident of
jail break was reported from each of the states- Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal
Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

One death due to clashes was reported in Goa

Out of the total
88 incidents
of clashes
reported in jails in
2017, 35 were from Bihar and 19 from Delhi. 11 such incidents were reported
from Punjab as well. These clashes have even resulted in a death of an inmate
in Goa, the only death reported across the country in such clashes. Apart from
this, 181 inmates and 23 jail personnel have been injured in these clashes. 81
cases of injury were reported in Delhi followed by Bihar with 37 cases. Goa
reported 23 cases. These three states together have reported 69% of the total injury
cases.  

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