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Incarcerated population in India: how many are dying? How are they dying?

Incarcerated population in India: how many are dying? How are they dying? This study aims to examine sociodemographic characteristics, levels and patterns of mortality experiences amongst Indian prisoners over the past two decades (1998–2018).Design/methodology/approachThis study used prison statistics in India to analyze occupancy rate, percentage distribution, annual/decadal change, male–to–female ratios, prison mortality rate and causes of natural/unnatural deaths.FindingsDuring 1998–2018, prisons in India grew by 18% and prisoners by 69%, leading to overcrowded jails. Males outnumbered female prisoners. Seventy percent of prisoners had an educational attainment level lower than 10th grade. In 2018, over 14 per 1,000 prisoners suffered from a mental illness and 384 per 100,000 died. Unnatural deaths accounted for 8%–11% of all prisoner deaths; 84% were by suicide. Illness accounted for 95% of all natural deaths in 2018; one–quarter was due to heart diseases.Research limitations/implicationsThe study did not establish an association between sociodemographic characteristics with mental illness and mortality due to the non-availability of data.Social implicationsThe pattern of a deteriorating living environment, rise in mental illnesses and mortality among Indian prisoners calls for immediate action from the authorities to protect them. Almost all unnatural deaths were by suicide (mostly by hanging). This detailed study would help authorities to take corrective measures for prisoner safety and well-being. There is also a need to develop a scientific database for this population.Originality/valueTo the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to examine morbidity and mortality experiences of the prisoner population using national statistics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Prisoner Health Emerald Publishing

Incarcerated population in India: how many are dying? How are they dying?

International Journal of Prisoner Health , Volume 17 (2): 16 – May 28, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1744-9200
DOI
10.1108/ijph-07-2020-0045
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study aims to examine sociodemographic characteristics, levels and patterns of mortality experiences amongst Indian prisoners over the past two decades (1998–2018).Design/methodology/approachThis study used prison statistics in India to analyze occupancy rate, percentage distribution, annual/decadal change, male–to–female ratios, prison mortality rate and causes of natural/unnatural deaths.FindingsDuring 1998–2018, prisons in India grew by 18% and prisoners by 69%, leading to overcrowded jails. Males outnumbered female prisoners. Seventy percent of prisoners had an educational attainment level lower than 10th grade. In 2018, over 14 per 1,000 prisoners suffered from a mental illness and 384 per 100,000 died. Unnatural deaths accounted for 8%–11% of all prisoner deaths; 84% were by suicide. Illness accounted for 95% of all natural deaths in 2018; one–quarter was due to heart diseases.Research limitations/implicationsThe study did not establish an association between sociodemographic characteristics with mental illness and mortality due to the non-availability of data.Social implicationsThe pattern of a deteriorating living environment, rise in mental illnesses and mortality among Indian prisoners calls for immediate action from the authorities to protect them. Almost all unnatural deaths were by suicide (mostly by hanging). This detailed study would help authorities to take corrective measures for prisoner safety and well-being. There is also a need to develop a scientific database for this population.Originality/valueTo the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to examine morbidity and mortality experiences of the prisoner population using national statistics.

Journal

International Journal of Prisoner HealthEmerald Publishing

Published: May 28, 2021

Keywords: Prisoners; Mortality; Suicide; Mental illness; Natural death; Unnatural death

References