South Indian states tops the list of mentally ill prisoners

First Published 16, Oct 2017, 1:09 PM IST
South Indian states tops the list of mentally ill prisoners
  • Prison authorities have introduced Yoga and other extra-curricular activities to motivate prisoners.
  • Psychologists also visit the prisons from time to time to check the mental health of the prisoners.
  • Ganja, alcohol and beedi have been prohibited in the prisons.

In a recent survey of mentally ill prisoners in India, the National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) has found that South Indian states top the charts. According to a 2016 report, Karnataka and Kerala top the list with 383 and 305 such prisoners. 

Following these states are Andhra and Telangana with a toll of 144 and 133 such prisoners. Experts believe that the main reason behind the unstable psychological conditions are inhuman living conditions, torture and negligence of prison staff. However, Akula Narasimha,iInspector General of prisons, speaking to the Deccan Chronicle, also owes the statistics to addictions like drug, alcohol, and smoking. Incidentally, banning these items in prison had positive outcome. 

Narasimha said, "After banning of restricted items like ganja, alcohol, cigarettes, beedi etc, inside prisons, the number of deaths came down and the mental condition of prisoners improved. Yoga and meditation were also introduced." He also said that as compared to other states, Telangana has more manpower, with one staff for every eight prisoners.

He also said, "We are providing counselling by psychologists and psychiatrists to first time offenders to help stabilise their minds and prevent them from feeling isolated. Prominent consultants regularly visit Telangana prisons and provide treatment to such prisoners. Some prisoners are sent to the Institute of Mental Health at Erragadda and 133 prisoners got treatment last year at the hospital."