KARACHI: The city’s two jails are reported to be the most overcrowded among the 25 prisons of Sindh as both house close to three times the inmates than their actual capacity, it emerged here on Saturday.

A report prepared by the prisons department for the home ministry shows the Central Prison Karachi (CPK), the second-oldest jail after Hyderabad, built in 1899, houses 6,174 prisoners against the authorised capacity for 2,400 inmates.

The CPK inmates include 1,156 convicts — 1,012 ordinary and 144 condemned — while 4,906 are under-trial prisoners (UTPs).

There is a separate ‘superior class’ in Sindh’s jails. Falling in that category at the CPK, there are 15 convicts, 44 UTPs and four detenus — persons detained for specified time under acts such as the Maintenance of Public Order 1961, Anti-Terrorism Act’s Section 11-EEEE or the Foreigners’ Act.

Among the foreign prisoners, there are 17 convicts, 25 UTPs and seven detenus.

A total of 6,174 prisoners — 4,975 UTPs and 1,188 convicts — are kept in the CPK.

Similarly, the District Prison Malir Karachi (DPMK) has 4,278 prisoners against its modest capacity of 1,600 inmates. Of them 3,612 are UTPs, 417 detenus and 243 convicts.

This jail traditionally houses Indian fishermen caught for violating Pakistan’s territorial waters, thus the number of its foreign prisoners is the highest among Sindh’s jails.

The DPMK’s figures show that among its foreigner population 139 are convicts, 164 are UTPs and 417 are detenus.

All the 16 general prisons in the province have the number of prisoners exceeding the authorised capacity with the District Prison Ghotki being almost at par, having 278 against the capacity for 250 prisoners.

The four youthful offenders’ industrial schools (YOIS) in Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana and Sukkur have fewer prisoners than the authorised capacity.

Similarly, the four prisons for women in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana — Karachi’s being called the Central Prison for Women — have fewer prisoners than the authorised capacity.

Overall, the capacity in the jails of Sindh is 12,245 but they house 20,308 — almost double of the authorised capacity. Among them 4,255 are convicts, with 489 condemned prisoners, 15,615 UTPs, and 429 detenus.

Women, children

A total of 249 women prisoners are kept in Sindh’s jails — 149 in Karachi, 65 in Hyderabad, 14 in Sukkur and 21 in Larkana.

Some 48 of them are convicts, three of them on death row, and 198 are UTPs.

Some 207 juvenile prisoners out of 283 in Sindh are kept in the YOIS Karachi, 39 in Hyderabad, 28 in Sukkur and nine in Larkana.

Some 15 juvenile prisoners are convicts and the remaining 268 are UTPs.

Some 18 condemned prisoners have been executed in Sindh since 2009.

The report, however, says no such execution was carried out from 2009 to 2014 because the country had put a moratorium on executions. However, the moratorium was lifted at the end of 2014 when children of the Army Public School in Peshawar were massacred by militants.

Some 17 of the condemned prisoners were executed in 2015 — 10 in the CPK, five in the Central Prison Sukkur and two in the Central Prison Hyderabad. However, the outgoing year saw an execution in the Central Prison Larkana.

Published in Dawn January 1st, 2017

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