Education status of children of women prisoners in India


This report was published in March 2021 by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, New Delhi. It reviews the facilities available for the education of children of women prisoners. The report also makes recommendations to improve the living and learning conditions of these children, within prisons and in hostels. 

It includes a survey conducted in eight prisons across four states of the country - Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Maharashtra. 144 responses were recorded – 58 responses from women prisoners with children aged 3-5 years, 35 responses from children of women prisoners aged 6-18 years who lived in hostels, 51 responses from officials at schools, hostels and prisons. 

The survey is divided into two categories: ‘Caged Childhood: Children residing in prisons’ (Section 1) and ‘Children residing in Children Homes and Hostels’ (Section 2). This 42-page report has five chapters: Historical excursion of Prison System in India (Chapter 1); Background of the Study (Chapter 2); Methodology (Chapter 3); Key Findings (Chapter 4); and Recommendations (Chapter 5).


  1. All eight prisons that were surveyed had a creche or an Anganwadi centre inside or outside the prison for children of women.

  2. The mode of instruction for education in prisons was a local language – such as Marathi, Hindi – and English. According to the National Early Childhood Care and Education (NECCE) policy adopted by the Government of India in 2013, local languages are essential in developing the “overall personality” of a child in their early years.

  3. The report states that many women prisoners are not familiar with the language of the state in which the prison is located. For instance, women from Punjab who are living in Rajahmundry prison, Andhra Pradesh, do not know the local languages. Their children, therefore, do not receive an education in their mother tongue but in a local language, which “directly hampers their learning”.

  4. Of the total women inmates surveyed, 96 per cent said that creche or Anganwadi centres, recreational facilities, and adequate food meals were provided to their children. Four per cent of the women complained about the lack of recreational facilities for children.

  5. The creche or Anganwadi provides study material such as colouring books, charts, books to the children; only 57 per cent of the women prisoners were aware of this.

  6. Close to 80 per cent of women prisoners knew the number of volunteers engaged in the prison while only 39 per cent of women were aware of the educational qualifications of these volunteers.

  7. The report states that 86 per cent of the women prisoners were aware of the medium of instruction used by teachers.

  8. Some women complained that the volunteers involved with the Creche and Anganwadi facility do not share any progress reports of children.

  9. When asked in the survey, “Whether prison authority successfully meets the needs of your child education?” as high as 14 per cent of women decided to not answer the question. Around 75 per cent of the women said that that they were satisfied with the education programmes run by the prison administration, while 11 per cent were dissatisfied.

  10. In the 24 children homes and hostels surveyed, 71 per cent of the children were enrolled in schools, 12 per cent were part of the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), 13 per cent were enrolled in bridge or informal courses. On the other hand, four per cent of the children were not enrolled in any educational institution.

  11. Counselling services are provided in 94 per cent of the hostels.

  12. Of the total hostels surveyed, 71 per cent of the institutions ensured that the children met their mothers regularly, eight per cent did not organize regular meetings, and 13 per cent refused to share their responses.

    Focus and Factoids by Dhyanvi Katharani.


National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, New Delhi


National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, New Delhi


Mar, 2021