The Prison Department’s data indicates that, of the 32 jails in the state, Jharkhand has the highest number of Other Backward Class (OBC) inmates (19,615). Remarkably, 10,141 people have been classified as OBC prisoners, making up more than half of all prisoners. Comparatively, there are 2,816 prisoners from the Scheduled Caste (SC) and 2,000 from the Scheduled Tribe (ST), in addition to 4,658 general category inmates.
The high percentage of OBC inmates is caused by a number of factors. The majority of OBCs suffer primarily from poverty and low levels of education, which makes it difficult for them to obtain appropriate legal counsel and leaves them vulnerable to unfounded allegations. Furthermore, because of their unemployment and financial hardship, some OBC people turn to criminal activities like extortion, kidnapping, and murder as a result of the dire economic conditions.
The state government has taken action to lower the number of OBC inmates in response to this alarming trend. Economically disadvantaged prisoners are eligible for free legal aid, and efforts are being made to expedite the trials of undertrial prisoners in order to facilitate their release on bail or parole. The government has also implemented a number of programmes that include skill development, education, and healthcare and are aimed at the welfare and rehabilitation of prisoners.
Although these programmes are a positive start, they don’t fully address the underlying causes of the issue. A more all-encompassing strategy is needed, with a focus on enhancing the socioeconomic circumstances of the OBC community. It is essential to offer better opportunities for empowerment, work, and education. Additionally, the government needs to make sure that people who identify as OBC get their fair share of reservations and representation in a variety of fields. A long-lasting impact on lowering the disproportionately high number of OBC prisoners in the state can only be achieved through such comprehensive efforts.