The prison act, 1894 regulate the law relating to administration of Prions in India. Among other provisions, it also specifies offences that will include under prison offence. If any prisoner does any such offence, he will be liable for punishment.

Prohibited Article

If article of any kind is prohibited under the rules of this act,

  • but any person introduces, or removes or supplies or do attempt of any such kind, any prohibited article outside from the prison,
  • And who communicates or attempts to communicate with any person,
  • And whoever abets any above mentioned acts,

Such person shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to fine not exceeding two hundred rupees, or to both.

If any person in the presence of an officer of prison, commits any above mentioned offence, and refuse to state his name or residence or if state his name or residence which such officer has reason to believe false, then such officer may arrest him and without unnecessary delay, handover him to police officer for further proceeding.

What are the Prison Offences?

The following acts are declared to be prison-offences when committed by a prisoner: —

  1. wilful disobedience to any regulation of the prison;
  2. any assault or use of criminal force;
  3. the use of insulting or threatening language;
  4. immoral or indecent or disorderly behaviour;
  5. wilfully disabling himself from labour;
  6. contumaciously refusing to work;
  7. filling, cutting, altering or removing handcuffs, fetters or bars without due authority;
  8. wilful idleness or negligence at work by any prisoner sentenced to rigorous imprisonment
  9. wilful mismanagement of work by any prisoner sentenced to rigorous imprisonment;
  10. wilful damage to prison-property;
  11. tampering with or defacing history-tickets, records or documents;
  12. receiving, possessing or transferring any prohibited article
  13. feigning illness;
  14. wilfully bringing a false accusation against any officer or prisoner;
  15. omitting or refusing to report, as soon as it comes to his knowledge, the occurrence of any fire, any plot or conspiracy, any escape, attempt or preparation to escape, and any attack or preparation for attack upon any prisoner or prison-official; and
  16. conspiring to escape, or to assist in escaping, or to commit any other of the offences aforesaid.

 Punishment of prison offences

The superintendent may examine offender and may give following punishments-

  • a formal warning,

A formal warning means a warning personally addressed to a prisoner by the Superintendent and recorded in the punishment-book and on the prisoner’s history-ticket;

  • change of labour to some more irksome or severe form
  • hard labour for a period not exceeding seven days in the case of convicted criminal prisoners not sentenced to rigorous imprisonment;
  • loss of privileges admissible under the remission system for the time being in force as may be prescribed by rules made by the State Government;
  • the substitution of gunny or other coarse fabric for clothing of other material, not being woollen, for a period which shall not exceed three months;
  • imposition of handcuffs of pattern and weight;
  • imposition of fetters of pattern and weight, in such manner and for such period, as may be prescribed by rules made by the State Government;
  • separate confinement for any period not exceeding three months;

Separate confinement means confinement with or without labour as secludes a prisoner from communication with, but not from sight of, other prisoners, and allows him not less than one hour’s exercise per diem and to have his meals in association with one or more other prisoners;

  • Penal diet, —that is, restriction of diet in such manner and subject to such conditions regarding labour as may be prescribed by the State Government:

but that such restriction of diet shall in no case be applied to a prisoner for more than ninety-six consecutive hours, and shall not be repeated except for a fresh offence nor until after an interval of one week.

  • cellular confinement for any period not exceeding fourteen days:

Cellular confinement means such confinement with or without labour as entirely secludes a prisoner from communication with, but not from sight of, other prisoners;

(11) penal diet combined with cellular confinement

(12) whipping, provided that the number of stripes shall not exceed thirty;

Whipping shall not render to any female or civil prisoner liable to the imposition of any form of handcuffs or fetters, or to whipping.

Plurality of punishment

Any two of the above-mentioned punishments may be awarded for any such offence in combination, with following exceptions, namely: —

  • formal warning shall not be combined with any other punishment except loss of privileges;
  • penal diet shall not be combined with change of labour, nor shall any additional period of penal diet awarded singly be combined with any period of penal diet awarded in combination with cellular confinement;
  • cellular confinement shall not he combined with separate confinement;
  • whipping shall not be combined with any other form of punishment except cellular and separate confinement and loss of privileges admissible under the remission system;

Who can award of punishments

The Superintendent shall have power to award any of the punishments, but in the case of separate confinement for a period exceeding one month, previous confirmation of the Inspector General needed.

No officer subordinate to the Superintendent shall have power to award any punishment whatever.

No punishment other than the abovementioned punishments shall be inflicted on any prisoner.

Medical Officer to certify to fitness of prisoner for punishment.

No punishment of penal diet, either singly or in combination, or of whipping, or of change of labour shall be executed until the prisoner to whom such punishment has been awarded has been examined by the Medical Officer.

If he considers the prisoner unfit to undergo the punishment, he shall in like manner record his opinion in writing and shall state whether the prisoner is absolutely unfit for punishment of the kind awarded, or whether he considers any modification necessary.

In the latter case he shall state what extent of punishment he thinks the prisoner can undergo without injury to his health.

Entries in punishment-books.

In the punishment-book, there shall be recorded, in respect of every punishment inflicted,

  • the prisoner’s name,
  • register number and the class (whether habitual or not) to which he belongs,
  • the prison-offence of which he was guilty,
  • the date on which such prison-offence was committed,
  • the number of previous prison-offences recorded against the prisoner, and
  • the date of his last prison-offence, the punishment awarded, and the date of infliction.

Procedure on committal of heinous offence.

If any prisoner is guilty of any offence against prison-discipline which, by reason of his having frequently committed such offences or otherwise, in the opinion of the Superintendent, is not adequately punishable by the infliction of any punishment which he has power under this Act to award,

the Superintendent may forward such prisoner to the Court of the District Magistrate or of any Magistrate of the first class having jurisdiction.


No punishment of whipping shall be inflicted in instalments, or except in the presence of the Superintendent and Medical Officer or Medical Subordinate.

Whipping shall be inflicted with a light ratan not less than half an inch in diameter on the buttocks, and in case of prisoners under the age of sixteen it shall be inflicted, in the way of school discipline, with a lighter ratan.

Offences by prison-subordinates

Every Jailor or officer of a prison subordinate to him

  • who shall be guilty of any violation of duty or
  • wilful breach or neglect of any rule or regulation or lawful order made by competent authority, or
  • who shall withdraw from the duties of his office without permission, or
  • without having given previous notice in writing of his intention for the period of two months, or
  • who shall wilfully overstay any leave granted to him, or
  • who shall engage without authority in any employment other than his prison-duty, or
  • who shall be guilty of cowardice,

shall be liable, on conviction before a Magistrate, to fine not exceeding two hundred rupees, or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months, or to both.

Prisoners not to be ironed by Jailer

No prisoner shall be put in irons or under mechanical restraint by the Jailer of his own authority, except in case of urgent necessity, in which case notice thereof shall be forthwith given to the Superintendent.


Prison Act, 1894