‘Suicide rate at Tihar thrice the national average for prisons’

Despite having the best Medical Superintendent to <g data-gr-id="23"><g data-gr-id="35">in-mate</g></g> ratio in the country, <g data-gr-id="24">percentage</g> of suicide deaths in Tihar is three times the national average. The prime causes of suicide range from bullying by other inmates to the inherent authoritarian structure in jails adding to the depression and same sex <g data-gr-id="22">rapes,</g> revealed a study taken up by the NHRC.

Tihar has a Medical Superintendent to inmate <g data-gr-id="21">ration</g> of 1:80, that is one superintendent for every 80 inmates, as compared to 1:524 for jails in Punjab, 1:553 for Jharkhand and 1:672 for the state of Madhya Pradesh. However, 15 percent of total prison deaths in Tihar are suicides as compared to the national average of 4.52 percent, revealed the study. 

This contradicts the theory that lower Medical Superintendent to <g data-gr-id="29">in-mate</g> ratio leads to lower suicide rate, attributing the shortfall to inadequacy and unavailability of psychological help within the prison premises to poor communication among staff and lack of training and direction in responding to suicide incidents. The study theorised two primary causes of jail suicide — firstly, jail environment and, second, the a crisis situation — and listed the prime causes of prison suicide as bullying by other <g data-gr-id="30">in-mates</g> and same sex rapes allegedly faced by many, followed by the inherent authoritarian structure in a prison adding to depression, the shame of incarceration, the dehumanising aspects of it, isolation from family and friends and even a constant fear which <g data-gr-id="31">in-mates</g> feel inside the jails.

The period between the first 24 hours of being lodged in the jail to the first fortnight spent inside there is considered as the most vulnerable as far as suicides are concerned, followed by a 30 days span in case <g data-gr-id="17">in-mates</g> are transferred from one jail to another after a long time. Between 2007 and 2012, around 15 <g data-gr-id="18">in-mates</g> committed suicides inside Tihar, the study said.
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