THE administration of prisons in India is governed by the rule embedded in Prison Act, 1894. The Prison act was enacted to regulate the law relating to prisons administration in India. The prison act give responsibility to certain officers to maintain the secure, sanitary and proper administration of Prison.

Officers of the Prison

For the administration of prison, the act makes the provisions for the officers who will have responsibility for the proper and safe administration of Prison.

Prison act, give responsibility to the following officers for the secure and proper administration of Prison-

  1. Inspector General
  2. Superintendent
  3. Medical Officer and his subordinate medical officers
  4. Jailer
  5. Gate Keeper (subordinate to Jailer) 

Accommodation of Prisoners

It is the duty of the state Government to provide accommodation for the prisoners in its territories.

If the number of prisoners in any prison is greater than the capacity of prison to keep them conveniently and safely. And it is also not convenient to transfer the excess number to some other prison, or due to outbreak of epidemic disease within the prison or for any other reason, it is desirable to provide for the temporary shelter and safe custody of any prisoners.

In such case, it shall be the duty of Inspector general to make such arrangement for the temporary shelter and safe custody of prisoners to give them temporary shelter in temporary prison.

Separation of Prisoners

  • In a prison containing female as well as male prisoners, the females shall be imprisoned in separate buildings, or separate parts of the same building, in such manner as to prevent their seeing, or conversing or holding any intercourse with, the male prisoners;
  • In a prison where male prisoners under the age of twenty-one are confined, means shall be provided for separating them altogether from the other prisoners and for separating those of them who have arrived at the age of puberty from those who have not;
  • Unconvicted criminal prisoners shall be kept apart from convicted criminal prisoners; and
  • Civil prisoners shall be kept apart from criminal prisoners.
  • Convicted criminal prisoners may be confined either in association or individually in cells or partly in one way and partly in the other.

Solitary confinement

No cell shall be used for solitary confinement unless it is furnished with the means of enabling the prisoner to communicate at any time with an officer of the prison, and every prisoner so confined in a cell for more than twenty-four hours, whether as a punishment or otherwise, shall be visited at least once a day by the Medical Officer or Medical Subordinate.

Prisoners under sentence of death.

Every prisoner under sentence of death shall, immediately on his arrival in the prison after sentence, be searched by, or by order of, the Jailer and all articles shall be taken from him which the Jailer deems it dangerous or inexpedient to leave in his possession.

Every such prisoner shall be confined in a cell apart from all other prisoners, and shall be placed by day and by night under the charge of a guard.

Arrangement for food from private source

A civil prisoners or an Unconvicted criminal prisoner may purchase or receive from private sources food, clothing, bedding or other necessaries. But they or any other person, cannot give, hire or sell their food, clothing, bedding or other necessaries to any other prisoners. If any person gives or sell such things, then he will also not be allowed to use his clothing, bedding brought from private sources.

Every civil prisoner and unconvicted prisoner unable to provide himself with sufficient clothing and bedding shall be supplied by the Superintendent with such clothing and bedding as may be necessary.

When any civil prisoner has been committed to prison in execution of a decree in favour of a private person, such person, or his representative, shall, within forty-eight hours after the receipt by him of a demand in writing, pay to the Superintendent the cost of the clothing and bedding so supplied to the prisoner; and in default of such payment the prisoner may be released.

Health of Prisoners

If any prisoner need to see doctor due to any sickness in mind or body, the person who is in charge to such prisoner shall immediately report to the jailer and the jailer shall without delay, call doctor to see such prisoner and shall carry into effect all written directions given by the Doctor, respecting alterations of the discipline or treatment of any such prisoner.

In every prison a hospital or proper place for the reception of sick prisoners shall be provided.

Visits to prisoners

If any civil or unconvicted prisoner desire to communicate someone, or undertrial prisoners to legal adviser, then provisions shall be made for such communication and undertrial prisoner may see his lawyer without the presence of any other person.

Search of visitors

The Jailer may demand the name and address of any visitor to prisoner, and, when the Jailer has any ground for suspicion, may search any visitor, but the search shall not be made in the presence of any prisoner or of another visitor.

In case of any such visitor refusing to permit himself to be searched, the Jailer may deny him admission; and the grounds of such proceeding, with the particulars thereof, shall be entered in such record as the State Government may direct.