Indian prisons have subpar conditions at best and usually really terrible ones. Many of these jails are overcrowded, have high rates of mental health problems, use cruel techniques, and are breeding grounds for diseases like HIV and TB. Indian law provides essential protections for detained persons, such as the freedom from torture and access to healthcare. But regrettably, the vast majority of those who are imprisoned in India do not have access to proper, if any, medical or mental health care, and they also endure a variety of other injustices. Given this fact, it is unsurprising that the rate of mental health disorders among Indian convicts is significantly greater than in the rest of India. Additionally, torture is frequent and increases the mortality and pressures on inmates' mental health. Soon after being taken into custody by the police, prisoners are frequently tortured.
Even though some might argue that inmates ought to get harsh punishment, it is important to remember that almost two-thirds of those incarcerated in India are simply awaiting trial rather than being found guilty of any crimes. Many of these prisoners who are "under trial" are uneducated, destitute, and have been accused of relatively minor infractions of the law. They also have limited access to financial or legal resources. As a result, not only is it conceivable that they are innocent of all charges, but the sad truth is that they most certainly lacked strong legal counsel to demonstrate their innocence.
No matter how guilty they may be, the majority of people who are imprisoned eventually reintegrate into society, bringing with them the weight of their illnesses and mental health to their respective communities and healthcare systems. In light of this fact, shouldn't the Indian medical community be speaking out more about the abuses Indian prisoners experience?
A WORD FROM SOCIALLY SOULED
Aside from ethical and societal concerns, prisoners in India are legally protected by the constitution and have access to the same basic rights to health treatment as everyone else. The routine procedures used in Indian prisons violate both domestic and international law. To adequately teach young aspiring doctors about the nature of such legal and ethical violations, more education is required. A strong collective voice from doctors, and a potent lobbying organization, would be able to start influencing reform for the vulnerable prisoners.