Government of India, India, NCRB, Prison, Stories

The Southern states account for 58% of the value of goods produced by prison inmates in 2017, lead the way in reformation


Reformation of inmates is one of the primary goals of prisons. The NCRB 2017 report on prisons indicates that the southern states are leading the way in the value of goods produced by inmates. Telangana has produced almost 21% of the value of goods produced by inmates in the country. 


Prisons act as a controlled environment for those arrested, under the supervision of the state and are aimed at reformation of the inmates. To reduce recidivism and to aid rehabilitation, the inmates are offered vocational skills training, access to education, library, yoga and meditation sessions. Vocational skills training provides an alternative livelihood source for offenders when they are released on completing their sentences. This also ensures that the time spent serving their sentences is also made to use in a constructive manner.

 The United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners of 1955 lays out rules to be adhered to by various countries, to ensure humane treatment of prison inmates. Rehabilitation of inmates is also discussed in the document. The Model Prisons Manual , prepared by the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPRD) advises all states to devise appropriate policies to facilitate prisoners’ employment and rehabilitation. Convicts and under-trial prisoners who volunteer to work are to be paid nominal wages for their labour as per rules. They cannot be compelled to work for more than nine hours a day.

Jail products have even entered mainstream markets

The articles produced in prison industries are sold to government departments, cooperatives, and other public undertakings. Of late, prison industries in some of the states are flourishing. In Kerala, jails are collaborating with online food delivery firms to cater to more customers. Brand ‘TJ’ is an initiative of Tihar Jail which has a wide range of products ranging from bakery items, jute bags recycled paper products to paintings and furniture sold in their exclusive stores set up across New Delhi. Even in states like Telangana, inmates are extended training and their products are sold through dedicated outlets.  

Prison Statistics 2017 was released this year after a delay of one year

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released the annual Prison Statistics India report of 2017 recently. In this report, the NCRB presents the numbers and figures related to prisons, inmates, staff, facilities and more. In this story, we explore the figures related to vocational training imparted and goods produced in jails across India.

Goods worth almost Rs. 280 crores were produced in Indian Prisons in 2017

The value of goods produced in Indian prisons has touched the highest totalling to Rs. 279.8 crores in 2017. This is the second time it has crossed the Rs. 200 crore mark, after 2015. Since 2010, the total value of goods produced has more than tripled, from Rs. 80.1 crores in 2010 to Rs. 279.8 crores in 2017. Compared to 2016, the value of goods produced has increased by about 40%. The value of goods produced in 2016 was slightly less than the value of goods produced in 2015.

Reformation of inmates_Annual total value of goods produced by inmates

Telangana contributes to more than one-fifth of the total earnings of India

The state of Telangana has reported the highest value of goods produced in 2017. With an earning of Rs. 59.9 crores, Telangana alone contributes 21% of the total earnings reported in India. Not far behind, Tamil Nadu has reported earnings of Rs. 56.8 crores in the same year. A total of 41% of  total earnings are contributed by these two states. Maharashtra and Kerala are next in line with Rs. 30.5 crores and Rs. 29.4 crores respectively. Bihar reported the fifth highest-earning with Rs. 16.3 crores. The value reported by the top ten states in terms of earnings amount to Rs. 250.1 crores which is almost 90% of the total earnings of India.

Reformation of inmates_States with highest value of goods produced by prisons

South Indian states together contribute almost 58% of the total value of goods produced

On a closer look, the performance of the states in the south seems to be better than the states in other parts of the country. The total value of goods produced in the southern states of Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka is Rs. 162.7 crores which is almost 58% of the national total. It has to be noted that these five states account for only about 12% of all the inmate population in the country.  North-eastern states of Assam, Sikkim, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh together have together reported sales worth Rs. 15 Lakhs only, may be owing to a fewer number of inmates.

Each inmate in Telangana produced goods worth more than Rs. 1 lakh, about 16 times the national average

Another observation is that the productivity of the inmates is the highest in Telangana. Here, by productivity, reference has been made to the average value of goods produced per inmate. In other words, the total value of goods divided by the total number of inmates in each of the states has been calculated as the productivity. In Telangana, the average value of goods produced per inmate was worth Rs. 1.08 lakh in 2017, which is almost 16 times the national average.  Following Telangana is Chandigarh with productivity of Rs. 41,705 per inmate. Tamil Nadu has a productivity of Rs. 40,685 per inmate. In addition to these three states, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh also have a productivity of more than Rs. 10,000 per inmate. Rajasthan has the lowest productivity at just Rs. 461 per inmate. The national average in terms of the value of goods produced per inmate is Rs. 6209 in 2017.

Based on the type of labour, nominal daily wage is provided to the inmates

An average of Rs. 97.5 is paid each day to an inmate involved in skilled labour. For semi-skilled and unskilled labour, the average wage was Rs. 82.7 and Rs. 74.4 respectively. Himachal Pradesh pays a wage of Rs. 210 each day to all labourers irrespective of skill.

Around 47,000 inmates underwent training in various vocational skills

Vocational skills training was provided to 47,390 inmates in 2017, which is about 10% of the total inmate strength in the country. About 9% of them got trained in weaving and 6.9% got trained in tailoring. Around 6% got trained in carpentry and 5.4% in agriculture. Bihar accounted for 8.4% of the trained inmates in the country.

Reformation of inmates_Number of inmates trained by specific skills

From the chart, it is evident that a significant number (69%) of inmates were trained in ‘other’ skills. These other skills include agarbatti (incense sticks) making, artificial flower making, adult education, plumbing, food items production, handicraft, sanitary napkin production, and other innovations. 14.7% of the inmates who gained training in other skills are from Delhi.

Featured Image: Reformation of inmates


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A bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s in social science, she is driven by ardent desire to work with this unique combination to create her own path instead of following the herd. Having served a stint as the college union chairperson, she is a strategist who is also passionate about nature conservation, art and loves solving Sudoku.