The prisons in the country are now overflowing with inmates as the number of detainees has become more than double the accommodation capacity.
The population in prisons has increased to such a level that the jail authorities find it very difficult to tackle the situation, according to sources concerned.Statistics at Department of Prisons show that a total of 77,908 detainees were in 68 jails across the country on Tuesday while the jails have the accommodation capacity of 36,614.
During normal time everyday, the number of inmates on average is 72,000 in the jails, already double the capacity. But over the past two weeks, the number has risen by around 8,000.
Officials said the additional inmates mostly are the activists or leaders of Banglasesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat and associate organisations.
A political analyst said massive arrest centering BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s conviction in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case has increased the prison population.
A senior official of the Department of Prisons said the jail authorities are already facing severe problems in managing the huge prison population.
“We are now struggling to tackle the overburden of the prisoners,” he added.The prisoners are facing nutrition, health and sanitation problems due to the overcrowding, a jail source said.
Unhygienic condition in jails is spreading various types of contagious diseases like skin problems and dysentery, the source added.
Colonel Md Iqbal Hasan, Additional Inspector General of Prisons, told the daily sun: “The jails can hold 36,614 prisoners. But until February 13 a total 77,908 prisoners are being held in 68 jails of the country.”
Asked about the overcrowded jails, he said, “We have the capacity of 3,6000 prisoners but now around 80,000 prisoners are in jails.”
Each jail have two officers – a jail superintendent or senior iail superintendent and a jailer while the number of employees or prison guards is around 750.
“It is very difficult to manage a prison with just only two officers,” a jail source said.
Officials concerned said there are only two officers at the country’s important prison like Dhaka Central Jail and they have to manage at least 7,000 inmates of the jail.
Another source said every day some 20,000 relatives come to meet at least 500 to 600 prisoners. Every big jail is struggling to tackle the overall situation with the limited number of staffs or prison guards, he added.