Uttar Pradesh jails grapple with 50% staff shortage, overcrowded prisons

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Uttar Pradesh is grappling with a massive shortage of prison staff with just 4,350 personnel against a required strength of 9,000 needed to man the state’s 71 prisons, say senior jail officials.

The manpower shortage in jails has come under the spotlight after the murder of gangster Munna Bajrangi in the Baghpat district jail on Monday that underlined lax security in the prison. The staff shortage has only worsened over the years.

The situation can be gauged from the fact that in Baghpat district jail, 816 prisoners are being looked after by a staff of 30 which is less than half of its sanctioned strength of 80.

Understaffed jails also have to deal with overcrowded prisons. The total capacity of 71 prisons is 58,000 inmates but according to the website of the prison administration and reforms, at least 96,580 inmates are lodged in UP jails as on April 2018.

According to senior jail officials, more than half the posts are laying vacant.

“More than 50 per cent of the total positions are lying vacant. Shortage of staff is witnessed at every level. Presently, only 65 of 71 prisons have jail superintendent which is an important position,” Deputy Inspector General of Police, (prisons), Love Kumar said.

The Bareilly central jail, which has over 2,000 inmates, doesn’t have a prison superintendent. Two jailors, four deputy jailors and 105 warders are currently handling operations at the jail.

There are only 175 personnel in the Lucknow district jail, which has 3,300 prisoners.

“In the absence of staff, we have to rely on inmates with good record to manage jails. This makes prison susceptible to all kinds of illegal activities which are not in accordance with the jail manual,” said a prison superintendent, who did not wish to be named.

“We keep informing our senior officials which I am sure must be conveyed to the government. However, we are yet to see positive response,” the officer added.

Apart from personnel, the prison officials have also demanded technology upgrade for prison surveillance and control.

Earlier this year, the UP government had earmarked Rs 2.4 crore to install CCTVs in 43 jails. But there has been no mention of filling up vacant posts in the jails.

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