In 2022, a striking revelation emerged from the latest prison statistics report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) regarding the educational qualifications of convicts and undertrial prisoners in Andhra Pradesh. The data indicated that a substantial 76 percent of the total 7,111 prisoners in the state had received some form of education, highlighting the diverse educational backgrounds of individuals behind bars.
Among the 1,988 convicts surveyed, the breakdown of educational qualifications showcased a varied picture. A total of 862 individuals had an education level below Class X, 464 were classified as illiterate, 451 fell between above Class X and below graduation, 148 were graduates, 18 held technical diplomas or degrees, and 45 were postgraduates. These statistics shed light on the educational diversity within the incarcerated population.
For the 5,123 undertrial prisoners, the report outlined a similar pattern. Of these, 1,204 were found to be illiterate, 1,992 had education levels below Class X, 1,095 were between above Class X and below graduation, 658 were graduates, 63 held technical diplomas or degrees, and 111 were postgraduates.
Notably, the total number of illiterate prisoners in the state had decreased from 2,066 in 2021 to 1,668 in 2022. Officials suggested that highly qualified inmates often found themselves involved in white-collar crimes or serious offenses, contributing to the diverse educational profile of the incarcerated population.
However, the report also highlighted a concerning trend in the state’s prison system. The prison population has been steadily increasing in recent years, with the four central prisons in Vizag city, Rajahmundry, Nellore, and Kadapa operating at an alarming occupancy rate of 120.7 percent in 2022. Designed for 3,764 individuals, these prisons are currently accommodating 4,542 inmates, surpassing their intended capacity.
A senior officer from the prisons department emphasized that efforts are being made to engage inmates in educational programs in collaboration with universities. The state provides library facilities and healthcare services to inmates as part of rehabilitation efforts. Interestingly, some prisoners showcased high-tech proficiency and were involved in duping engineering and business graduates through various cyber frauds, including online job scams.
As Andhra Pradesh grapples with the challenge of managing a growing prison population, the intersection of education, crime, and technology remains a complex and evolving aspect of the state’s criminal justice system.