NCRB’s Prison Statistics Report 2019 paints a bleak picture More under-trials than actual convicts behind bars!

07, Sep 2020 | Sanchita Kadam

The 25th edition of the Prison Statistics in India report released by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) reveals some shocking results; most notably that the number of under-trial prisoners still considerably overshadows the number of convicts in Indian jails!

According to the report, 69.05 percent of those behind bars were under-trials, while 30.11 percent were convicts and 0.67 percent were detenues in 2019. The report provides the latest data on prisons, prisoners and prison infrastructure based on data compiled from prison head-quarters in each state, except West Bengal, from where they have not been given any data since 2017.


Prisons in India have always been over-crowded, with the increasing number of under trials housed there. The number of prisons increased from 1,339 prisons in 2018 to 1,350 prisons in 2019; an increase of 11 prisons in just one year. However, this has done nothing to reduce the occupancy rate which was 118.5 percent in 2019 as opposed to 117.6 percent in 2018. 4.7 lakh prisoners are lodged in these 1,350 prisons. Delhi has reported the highest occupancy rate (174.9%) followed by Uttar Pradesh (167.9%) and Uttarakhand (159.0%).

Rajasthan has the highest number of prisons (144) followed by Tamil Nadu (141), Madhya Pradesh (131), Andhra Pradesh (106), Karnataka (104) and Odisha (91).

Central Jails have the highest capacity of inmates (1,77,618) followed by the District Jails (capacity of 1,58,986 inmates) and the Sub Jails (capacity of 45,071 inmates)


The number of under-trial prisoners still considerably overshadows the number of convicts in jails. In 2019, 69.05% under-trials were imprisoned while 30.11 percent were convicts and 0.67 percent were detenues.

As compared to 2018, there has been a 3.32 percent increase in number of convicts in 2019 and a 2.15 percent increase in number of under-trials. Uttar Pradesh has reported the maximum number of under trials (22.2 percent, 73,418 under-trials) in the country followed by Bihar (9.5 percent, 31,275 under-trials) and Maharashtra (8.3 percent, 27,557 under trials).

Notably, the number of detenues has seen the highest jump from 2018 data. There has been an increase by 35.19 percent in number of detenues lodged in jails. Tamil Nadu has reported the maximum number of detenues (38.5 percent, 1,240) in the country followed by Gujarat (21.7 percent, 698) and Jammu & Kashmir (12.5 percent, 404).

A total of 400 prisoners have been sentenced to capital punishment, out of which 121 prisoners have been sentenced in 2019 alone. Further, among 1,44,125 convicts, 53.54 percent (77,158) have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Among all under-trials, 74.08 percent (2,44,841) have been confined for up to 1 year. There are, however, under-trials who have spent more time in prison 13.35 percent (44,135) have been confined for 1-2 years while 6.79 percent (22,451) have been confined for 2-3 years and 4.25 percent (14,049) have been in prison for 3-5 years.


The total number of deaths has decreased only marginally, by 3.79 percent, compared to 2018. There were 1,845 deaths that took place in 2018 compared to 1,775 deaths in 2019. However, the number of unnatural deaths have increased by 10.74 percent from 149 in 2018 to 165 in 2019.

Among the 165 unnatural deaths of inmates, 116 inmates have committed suicide, 20 inmates died in accidents, 10 inmates were murdered by inmates and 1 inmate died due to assault by outside elements during 2019. For a total of 66 inmate deaths, cause of the death is not yet known.

The complete report may be read here.



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