The system of prison administration in our country is more than 100 years old. If one looks back one cannot but be impressed with the vast change made during this period. The innovation, while still halting and employed only in some and not in all the prisons of the country, nevertheless give promise of the system of treating offenders. Gone are now many of the brutal methods of treatment yielding place to several new methods including outdoor labour, facilities for higher education, recreational and correction plans, group work and payment of wages. Attempts are now being made to treat the prisoners under less repressive discipline and with greater freedom.
Administration of prisons and reformation of prisoners has been a matter of intense debate and sharp criticism at various public fora. Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the recent years has come down heavily on the inhuman and degrading conditions in prisons. In many states, the problems of dilapidated prison structure, overcrowding and congestion, increasing proportion of undertrial prisoners, inadequacy of prison staff, lack of proper care and treatment of prisoners, etc., have been engaging the attention of the press and social activists. With a growing advocacy for the protection of human rights in the various walks of lives, the plight of prisoners has
emerged as a critical issue of public policy.