Crowded jails helping HIV infection in inmates: Report

New Delhi, June 25:

Prisons in the South Asia region are crammed much above their capacity and prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the jail inmates is higher as compared to similar figures in other countries of the world, a recent report said.

Number of drug addicts in the jails is increasing and so is the rate of HIV/AIDS infection among the jail inmates, the UNODC regional office for South Asia region said today.

A study in 2004/05 conducted by the International Centre for Prison Studies of Kingston College of Britain said that Nepali jails house 142.06 per cent prisoners more than the capacity.

The figure is 277 per cent in Bangladesh, 139 per cent in India and 147 per cent in the Maldives.

“As there are more prisoners than the capacity in jails, there is greater risk of HIV/AIDS infection among the prisoners than among the common people,” a senior officer of the UNODC regional office, Jayadev Sarangi, said.

According to Sarangi, the condition is worse because violence and sexual intercourse between the same sex are on the rise in the prisons.

It has been found that most of the prisoners take drugs from the same syringe and this is a major reason for HIV/AIDS infection, Sarangi said.

The practice of keeping prisoners beyond the jail capacity, their using drugs and the increasing number of drug addicts in jails have made instances of HIV/AIDS infection more probable, the UNODC regional office for South Asia said.

The UNODC regional office has been working with 20,000 prisoners of South Asia, 4250 prisoner officials, doctors and volunteers.