Prison Statistics India – 2020


The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), an agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, released this report in December 2021. The report contains data on the administration of prisons and jails in the country for the year 2020. The data was collected between January and July 2021 by prison departments across states and union territories. 

As per the report, the total number of jails in the country decreased from 1,351 in 2019 to 1,306 in 2020. While these prisons had the capacity for 414,033 prisoners, about 488,500 people were lodged in the prisons by the end of 2020. 

The 354-page document is divided into 12 chapters: Prisons – Types and Occupancy (Chapter 1); Prisoners – Types and Demography (Chapter 2); Indian Prisoners (Chapter 3); Foreign Prisoners (Chapter 4); Prisoners –  Offence wise (Chapter 5); Prisoners – Sentences and Incarceration (Chapter 6); Prisoners – Releases, Transfers and Movements (Chapter 7); Deaths and Illness in Prisons (Chapter 8); Jail breaks, Escapes & Firing in Prisons (Chapter 9); Rehabilitation and Welfare of Prisoners (Chapter 10); Prisons Staff – Strength and Training (Chapter 11); Prison – Budget and Infrastructure (Chapter 12).


  1. The inmates in prisons have been categorised as ‘convicts’ (those found guilty of a crime and serving a sentence); ‘undertrials’ (prisoners with cases currently being tried in court); and ‘detenues’ (who have been detained in prisons by a “competent authority” under preventive laws). Out of the total prisoners in the country, the number of convicts, undertrials and detenues were reported to be 112,589 (23.05 per cent), 371,848 (76.12 per cent) and 3,590 (0.73 per cent) respectively.

  2. Rajasthan has the highest number of jails (145) among states and union territories in the country, followed by Tamil Nadu (142) and Madhya Pradesh (131).

  3. There were only 29 separate jails for women by the end of 2020. Only 14 states or union territories in the country had such separate jails. These were: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

  4. In 2020, 41 per cent of prisoners had educational qualifications below  Class 10 and 22.6 per cent had studied up to or beyond Class 10 but were not graduates. Around 6.4 per cent of the prisoners were graduates whereas 1.7 per cent had postgraduate degrees and 1.3 per cent had technical diplomas or degrees. About 26.9 per cent of the prisoners in the country had received no education.

  5. As of December 2020, Uttar Pradesh prisons had the highest number of convicts. Of the 105,724 male convicts in the country, 25,547 were lodged in Uttar Pradesh prisons. In the case of female convicts, 1,182 out of the total 4,644 inmates were from Uttar Pradesh.

  6. As high as 44.1 per cent of all the inmates in the country were between 18 and 30 years of age. Roughly 42.9 per cent were in the age group of 30-50 years and about 13 per cent of inmates were 50 years of age or older.

  7. The number of deaths in prisons due to both natural and unnatural causes (such as suicide) increased from 1,764 in 2019 to 1,887 in 2020. Of the total deaths, 1,642 occurred due to natural causes and 189 were from unnatural causes like suicide, firing, murder by inmates, and assault by “outside elements”. Roughly 56 deaths occurred due to reasons “yet to be known”.

  8. Convicts were charged for a total of 88,755 “offences affecting human body” committed across the country. These included murder (59,846 convicts), rape (12,631 convicts) and attempted murder (5,096 convicts).

  9. Among 3,71,848 undertrial prisoners in the country in 2020, around 71.2 per cent had been in jail for a period of up to one year and 14.6 per cent had been confined for 1-2 years. Approximately 7.9 per cent undertrial prisoners had been in jail for 2-3 years and 4.5 per cent had been confined for 3-5 years. Moreover, 7,128 (1.9 per cent of the total undertrial prisoners in the country) had been in jail for more than 5 years.

  10. The report states that there are de-addiction centres (DAC) in some prisons in the country. Inmates who are addicted to drugs are sent to these centres in the initial phase of their treatment. States such as Sikkim and Delhi have taken major initiatives in this regard, the report adds.

  11. As of 2020, a total of 907 jails (about 69 per cent of all jails in the country) were equipped with Video Conferencing (VC) facilities. This was an increase from 2019 when only around 60 per cent of jails possessed VC facilities. However, the facility is not evenly distributed in jails across the country, the report notes.

  12. The expenses incurred on inmates during the year 2020 were majorly on food (1,005 crores), medical needs (92 crores) and clothing (25 crores).

  13. There were sustained efforts to renovate jails in the year 2020, the report states. Out of 288 jails which were renovated or expanded in 2020, 44 were central jails, 143 district jails and 3 women’s jails.

    Focus and Factoids by Khushi Agrawal.


National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi


National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi


01 Dec, 2021