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Dead by chance
Prisoners, facing Capital Punishment or not, often die in prisons due to inhuman conditions and lengthy delays between trials and executions. Authorities globally need to address this urgently
01/09/2011

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons,” avowed Fyodor Dostoevsky, a Russian novelist, in the nineteenth century. It may be tough to decide who is worse. From food quality to ventilation, sanitation, water, infrastructure & health care facilities; prisons globally are almost invariably found wanting.

To add to this, most prisons are overcrowded, especially in the developing nations. For instance, Uganda’s Muduuma prison is filled up to 3,200% of its capacity. India’s Tihar Jail is built for 4,000 inmates but currently has 12,000 plus inmates. Moreover, the time spent under trial and before execution of capital punishment has increased considerably. According to the Death Penalty Information Center in US, the average time spent on a death row before execution is close to 14 years (calculated in 2010). In China, the time spent on the death row is astonishingly low at around 449 days, which also explains the high number of executions per year in China (almost 60-80% of capital punishments of the world happen in China).

As per Bureau of Justice Statistics, the total number of prisoners dying in jail was 21,936 (2001-2007) in US out of which 82.9% were due to illness (mainly unhealthy conditions & lack of proper medical facilities). There is also an increased propensity for death row inmates to commit suicides, which in one way, can also be attributed to the environment that a particular prison projects and enforces upon a convict. The rise of the Death Row Phenomenon, wherein inmates die in jails, whether or not they were deemed to be executed, is a truism of the modern era. How can it be resolved? Simple; give clean and positive temperament prisons.

By:- Amir Hossain
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