Development of Prison System in Bangladesh
Subject: Law | Topics: ,


Prisons in Bangladesh are governed by laws which date back to the 19th century. In practice, many people, particularly the poor, become entangled in the penal system where they face violations of their human rights. Masses of prisoners languish in jail awaiting trial and spend many years imprisoned without legal support. However, significant developments in Bangladesh have demonstrated how prison populations can be reduced with low cost and innovative interventions.

Definition of Prison:

The word prison the Synonym of the word jail or goal or Penitentiary that has been defined as place properly arranged and equipped for reception of persons who by legal process are committed to it for safe custody while awaiting trail or for punishment. In Prison individuals are physically confined or interned, and usually deprived of a range of personal prison are4 conventionally institution which from part of  the criminal Justice System of country, such that imprisonment or incarceration is a legal Penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of crime.

The first occasion on which we read of a prison is in the history of Joseph in Egypt. Then Potiphar, “Joseph’s master, took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound”. The Heb. word here used (sohar) means properly a round tower or fortress. It seems to have been a part of Potiphar’s house, a place in which state prisoners were kept. The Mosaic law made no provision for imprisonment as a punishment. In the wilderness two persons were “put in ward”, but it was only till the mind of God concerning them should be ascertained. Prisons and prisoners are mentioned in the book of Psalms. Samson was confined in a Philistine prison. In the subsequent history of Israel frequent references are made to prisons. Prisons seem to have been common in New Testament times. The apostles were put into the “common prison” at the instance of the Jewish council and at Philippi Paul and Silas were thrust into the “inner prison”.

History of Prison:

The present state of Bangladesh has to be viewed in the light of the past because, as has been said, the present “is the child of the past and parent of the future”.In order to understand the problems and predicaments which confront the country at the present moment we shall have to turn back to the past. Without understanding the past we cannot understand the present. If we look at history we would find that during the past hundred years or so phenomenal changes have taken place in what may be called the psyche of the Muslims who form the great majority of population of this region. These changes have to be explained and analyzed in historical perspective.

Prison is just one of a number of sanctions available to the courts to deal with those who commit criminal offences. Imprisonment today is the harshest sanction available, but this has not always been the case.

16th and 17th Centuries

Sanctions for criminal behaviour tended to be public events which were designed to shame the person and deter others; these included the ducking stool, the pillory, whipping, branding and the stocks. At the time the sentence for many other offences was death.

Prison tended to be a place where people were held before their trial or while awaiting punishment. It was very rarely used as a punishment in its own right. Men and women, boys and girls, debtors and murderers were all held together in local prisons.

Evidence suggests that the prisons of this period were badly maintained and often controlled by negligent prison warders. Many people died of diseases like gaol fever, which was a form of typhus.

The most important innovation of this period was the building of the prototype house of correction, the London Bridewell. Houses of correction were originally part of the machinery of the Poor Law, intended to instil habits of industry through prison labour. Most of those held in them were petty offenders, vagrants and the disorderly local poor. By the end of the 17th century they were absorbed into the prison system under the control of the local Justices of the Peace.

18th Century

Although the 18th century has been characterised as the era of the ‘Bloody Code’ there was growing opposition to the death penalty for all but the most serious crimes. Such severe punishment was counter-productive, as jurors were refusing to find thieves guilty of offences which would lead to their execution.  Transportation was curtailed at the end of the 18th century. Other sanctions therefore had to be found. The two prominent alternatives were hard labour, and for those unable to do this, the house of correction. This practice lead to the use of prison hulks from 1776 until their phasing out in 1857. Prison hulks were ships which were anchored in the Thames, and at Portsmouth and Plymouth. Those sent to them were employed in hard labour during the day and then loaded, in chains, onto the ship at night. The appalling conditions on the hulks, especially the lack of control and poor physical conditions, eventually led to the end of this practice. But the use of prison hulks did much to persuade public opinion that incarceration, with hard labour, was a viable penalty for crime..

19th Century

The first half of the 19th century represented a watershed in the history of state punishment. Capital punishment was now regarded as an inappropriate sanction for many crimes. The shaming sanctions, like the stocks, were regarded as outdated. By mid-century, imprisonment had replaced capital punishment for most serious offences – except for that of murder.

Pentonville was originally designed to hold 520 prisoners, each held in a cell measuring 13 feet long, 7 feet wide and 9 feet high. Pentonville operated the separate system, which was basically solitary confinement. In the next 6 years, 54 new prisons were built using this template.

In 1877 prisons were brought under the control of the Prison Commission. For the first time even local prisons were controlled centrally. At this time prison was seen primarily as a means to deter offending and reoffending. This was a movement away form the reforming ideals of the past.

The Prison Act 1898 reasserted reformation as the main role of prison regimes. This Act can be seen to set the penal-welfare context which underlies today’s prison policy. It led to a dilution of the separate system, the abolition of hard labour, and established the idea that prison labour should be productive, not least for the prisoners, who should be able to earn their livelihood on release.

20th Century

The development of the prison system continues. At the end of the 19th century there was recognition that young people should have separate prison establishments – thus the borstal system was introduced in the Prevention of Crime Act 1908. Borstal training involved a regime based on hard physical work, technical and educational instruction and a strong moral atmosphere. A young person in borstal would work through a series of grades, based on privileges, until release. In 1933, the first open prison was built at New Hall Camp near Wakefield. The theory behind the open prison is summed up in the words of one penal reformer, Sir Alex Paterson: “You cannot train a man for freedom under conditions of captivity”. The Criminal Justice Act 1948 abolished penal servitude, hard labour and flogging. It also presented a comprehensive system for the punishment and treatment of offenders. Prison was still at the centre of the system, but the institutions took many different forms including remand centres, detention centres and borstal institutions.

21st Century

There are currently 139 prisons holding men, women and children in England and Wales. The supremacy of imprisonment as a way of dealing with offending behaviour shows no signs of abating.Further new prisons are being planned. These like all new prisons will be part of the PFI programmes and managed by the private sector. There are currently 11 privately managed prisons, however two prisons which began life managed by the private sector have been brought back into public management.The Declaration of Independence cited a list of abuses related to the prisoner trade, including complaints that the Crown had obstructed justice, sent swarms of officers to harass the people, deprived many of the benefits of trial by jury, transported persons beyond the seas for pretended offenses, and committed other offenses. However, Thomas Jefferson’s clause protesting slavery was deleted.The new United States struggled to determine what to do with its penal and slavery apparatus. Many British prisons were converted to American ones and new penal codes were implemented. Some states such as Pennsylvania and New York provided for the gradual emancipation of their slaves at the same time they adopted new criminal codes providing for the use of sentences of imprisonment as a punishment.

The Civil War had profoundly altered America’s system and rationale for imprisonment. Millions of slaves had been let loose, chattel slavery was ended, and penal servitude expanded. Thousands of inmates had perished in deadly prison camps kept by their own countrymen. Many more were badly scarred by what they had experienced. Many Americans increasingly recognized that the previous reformed.The prison camps of the Civil War proved to be incredibly lethal. According to official statistics compiled at the end of the war, the North held a total of 220,000 Confederates and the South held 126,000 Unionists. Estimates placed the number of prison dead at 30,212 for the Confederate prisons and 26,774 in the Union prisons. To put matters in perspective, roughly two and a half times.Until 1963, the incidence of reported crime as measured by official crime statistics actually remained relatively constant. But then serious crime began to experience an upsurge. The nation’s rate of incarceration also remained relatively stable until 1974, when it also began to shoot up. The total number of adults in prison custody on a census day in 1972 showed a rate of incarceration.


The Inspector General of Prisons, Brigadier General Md Zakir Hasan, recently discussed current jail conditions with POLOFF, and described his efforts to reform the prison system in Bangladesh. According to Hasan, the total prison population in Bangladesh (including those in jail awaiting trial, but not those detained in police stations) is approximately 86,100, which is 3.5 times greater than the country’s maximum prison capacity.(SBU) Brigadier General Md Zakir Hasan, the Inspector General of Prisons, recently discussed prison conditions and his ongoing reform of the prison system with POLOFF. As the top Bangladesh government official overseeing the prison system, Hasan runs a network of 67 prisons across the country. He assumed his position in 2005. Prior to his appointment, the Inspector General position was traditionally held by a military officer from the medical corps. Hasan is the first infantry officer to hold the job.(SBU) Hasan provided statistics on the current prison population. He said he receives daily reports on how many prisoners have entered and departed the system, and that the current total number of prisoners that day was about 88,500. This number has been relatively stable for several months, after having risen from 72,000 at the beginning of the state of emergency in January. Between 1,150 and 1,200 prisoners enter and leave the system every day. (NOTE: These statistics match estimates by the Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights and the Bangladesh office of the International Committee of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. END NOTE.). (SBU) The prison population is currently 3.5 times over its maximum capacity of 27,000. Hasan has sought to shift prisoners around to relieve the most crowded jails, in Dhaka and other major cities, but it can be difficult because prisoners often must appear in court in the city where they were convicted. Hasan hopes to increase the prison capacity by several thousands slots this year, and will be inaugurating a new prison in Chuaganga in northwestern Bangladesh in the middle of September.

(SBU) According to Hasan, when he took over the prison system in 2005 corruption was rampant, prisoners were routinely abused, and prison employees’ morale was abysmal. “My first thought was that prisons cannot be punishment centers, they have to be rehabilitation centers,” he said. He said he noticed quickly that the prisons held not just bad people, but also many victims of circumstance, poorly educated people, and political prisoners who were involved in local disputes. “My job, as I saw it, was to rehabilitate them since these people are still a segment of society.”

(SBU) Hasan said he saw firsthand major problems in the way the prisons were being run. There was no mutual respect, either amongst prisoners or between prison employees, and training for guards was non-existent. Prisoners had to bribe the guards for the rations they were entitled to, and were routinely placed in “bar-fitters” (a bar that connects ankle-cuffs and hand-cuffs) which were supposed to be reserved only for transporting prisoners. (SBU) The Inspector General described a series of reforms he has initiated since 2005. He introduced several measures aimed at improving employee training and morale, including introducing a new uniform, revising the training program, creating a health program for employees’ families modeled on that of the military, and helping to subsidize their children’s education. To address rampant corruption, he created an intelligence service within the prisons to report on abuse and bribery and to monitor prison conditions. He also managed to remove syndicates from the business of supplying prisons, a move that ran afoul of the members of parliament that ran them. (NOTE: Several of these MPs petitioned the Home Minister unsuccessfully for Hasan’s removal. END NOTE.) To improve communication and promote more transparency, he instituted monthly “dharbars” or public meetings for prisoners and employees in each of the 67 prisons, presided over by the head of the prison to discuss problems and concerns without fear of retribution. Hasan also pushed through a major overhaul of the country’s jail code, which governs how the prison system is operated. (SBU) To provide skills for prisoners, Hasan formalized what had been ad hoc literacy classes, with educated prisoners as teachers. He started creating canteens staffed by prisoners, and opened a bakery, beauty salon, and electronic repair service in the Dhaka Central Prison to put prisoners to work. He acknowledged that poor conditions persist and that many of the changes are taking a long time to implement.

Dhaka Central Jail

In general, the criminal codes and procedures in effect in Bangladesh derive from the period of British rule, as amended by Pakistan and Bangladesh. These basic documents include the Penal Code, first promulgated in 1860 as the Indian Penal Code; the Police Act of 1861; the Evidence Act of 1872; the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1898; the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908; and the Official Secrets Act of 1911.

The major classes of crimes are listed in the Penal Code, the country’s most important and comprehensive penal statute. Among the listed categories of more serious crimes are activities called “offenses against the state.” The Penal Code authorizes the government to prosecute any person or group of persons conspiring or abetting in a conspiracy to overthrow the government by force. An offense of this nature is also defined as “war against the state.” Whether or not an offense constitutes a conspiracy is determined by the “intent” of the participant, rather than by the number of the participants involved, so as to distinguish it from a riot or any other form of disturbance not regarded as antinational. Section 121 of the Penal Code makes antinational offenses punishable by death or imprisonment for twenty years. The incitement of hatred, contempt, or disaffection toward a lawfully constituted authority is also a criminal offense punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Among other categories of felonies are offenses against the public tranquility (meaning unlawful assembly), rioting, and public disturbances; offenses relating to religion; and offenses against property, such as theft, robbery, and dacoity (robbery by a group of five or more persons).

Punishment is divided into five categories: death; punishment, ranging from seven years to life; imprisonment; forfeiture of property; and fines. The imprisonment may be “simple” or “rigorous” (hard labor), ranging from the minimum of twenty-four hours for drunken or disorderly conduct to a maximum of fourteen years at hard labor for more serious offenses. Juvenile offenders may be sentenced to detention in reform schools for a period of three to seven years. For minor infractions whipping, not exceeding fifteen lashes, may be prescribed as an alternative to detention.

Preventive detention may be ordered under the amended Security of Pakistan Act of 1952 and under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure when, in the opinion of the authorities, there is a strong likelihood of public disorder. Bangladeshi regimes have made extensive use of this provision. Similarly, Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, frequently invoked by magistrates for periods up to two months, prohibits assembly of five or more persons, holding of public meetings, and carrying of firearms. In addition, the Disturbed Areas (Special Powers) Ordinance of 1962 empowers a magistrate or an officer in charge of a police contingent to open fire or use force against any persons breaching the peace in the disturbed areas and to arrest and search without a warrant. The assembly of five or more persons and the carrying of firearms may also be prohibited under this ordinance.

Persons charged with espionage are punishable under the Official Secrets Act of 1911, as amended in 1923 and 1968. As revised in May 1968, this statute prescribes death as the maximum penalty for a person convicted of espionage. In 1966, in an effort to prevent information leaks, the central government passed a regulation prohibiting former government officials from working for foreign diplomatic missions. In general, all persons seeking employment with foreign embassies or any foreign government agencies were also required to obtain prior permission from Bangladeshi authorities.

The custody and correction of persons sentenced to imprisonment is regulated under the Penal Code of 1860, the Prisons Act of 1894, and the Prisoners Act of 1900, as amended. The prison system has expanded but in 1988 was basically little changed from the later days of the highest jail administration official is the inspector general of prisons or, if this office is not separately assigned, the inspector general of police. At the division level or the police range level, the senior official is called director of prisons; at the district level, he is the jail superintendent. Below the district jail level are the subdistrict and village police lockups. Dhaka Central Jail is the largest and most secure prison and has more extensive facilities than those at the successive lower echelons. All installations are staffed by prison police usually permanently assigned to this duty. In general, prisons and jails have low standards of hygiene and sanitation and are seriously overcrowded. Rehabilitation programs with trained social workers were rudimentary or nonexistent through the late 1980s. Overcrowding–the most serious basic problem–was likely to worsen as the 1990s approached because of the mounting number of arrests connected with opposition campaigns to oust Ershad from office.

Development of Prison System in Bangladesh:

Bangladesh’s prisons are part of the criminal-justice system, which is under immense pressure. Case backlogs run into the millions, crippling the overburdened system. Corruption is also alleged to be rife among criminal-justice agencies. Moreover, there is a clear focus on punitive as opposed to restorative justice, and imprisonment is primarily seen as a way to gain retribution, but rarely considered as an opportunity to change inmates’ ­attitudes towards law and society.

Prisons in Bangladesh have historically been closed institutions. It is a very recent phenomenon that they are discussed in public and at an international level. Recent developments illustrate just how far Bangladesh is moving in relation to prison reform, and just how much of an ­example to the rest of the developing world Bangladesh could become.

Prisoner has faced that Problem:

Bangladesh’s prisons are severely overcrowded with people who have yet to be convicted and are awaiting trial. They make up a staggering 72% of the ­prison population. These prisoners rarely have access to ­legal assistance. The length of pre-trial detention is often extended with many prisoners spending months or years awaiting a court date. Many will stay in prison for far longer than the sentence they would have served if they had been convicted of their accused crime. It is also a common occurrence for people to be detained for minor offences – which can be asso­ciated in many cases to poverty.No doubt, the sheer number of prisoners is the prison services’ most pressing issue. Ten years ago there were 44,000 prisoners; today the number has risen to approximately 70,000. The prison system, however, was designed to house a mere 28,969 inmates. The country is incarcerating more than two and a half times as many.The severe overcrowding in the prison system prevents resolving issues that with a smaller population could be tackled. For example, crowded ­prisons are renowned across the world to contribute to high levels of infectious disease. The lack of space impacts upon resources available for rehabilitation; there is only very basic education available in Bangladesh prisons and the availability of work or vocational training is inconsistent.

Within a prison system that is struggling with such daunting challenges, the young, the mentally ill, those addicted to alcohol or drugs and women suffer the most. Prisons are simply not designed to support vulnerable inmates such as these. It is accepted practice in Bangladesh to hold vulnerable people in “safe custody”, where they will be imprisoned for their “safety” rather than because they have committed any sort of crime. Furthermore, there are neither procedures to assess the needs of prisoners nor the risks they may pose to others. Many prisoners are treated as ‘high risk’ when they may not need to be, wasting precious resources and money.

Prisoner Lost in jail:

Thirty-two year old Rahim (not his real name), a CNG driver and the main wage earner for a seven-member family, was arrested on accusation of theft in 2007. The case was filed with a local police station and he was taken to a jail – and for­gotten.

Rahim is a victim of the “on call” situation prevalent in Bangladesh. When the court announced a date for his trial, they issued a production warrant to the prison authority. However, the production warrant never reached his prison. When the case date arrived, Rahim failed to appear in court and was thus recorded as an abscondee. Oblivious to his court order, Rahim was in prison awaiting his court date. This went on for three years. Rahim’s story is only one among hundreds of others who languish in prison without a trial; 72% of inmates in Bangladesh are untried and therefore legally innocent. In most cases, they are poor people with no lawyers to defend them and with no idea about their legal rights.

The government’s human rights record remained poor, and the government continued to commit numerous serious abuses. The following human rights problems were reported:

 • extrajudicial killings
• arbitrary arrest
• politically motivated violence and killings
• impunity for security forces
• physical and psychological torture
• lengthy pretrial detention
• restrictions on privacy
• violence against and restrictions on journalists
• infringement on religious freedom
• extensive government corruption
• violence against women and children
• trafficking in women and children
• limitation on workers rights

Political Prisoners:

The government stated that it held no political prisoners; however, opposition parties and human rights monitors claimed the government arrested many political activists and convicted them on unfounded criminal charges NGOs did not have access to prisoners.On April 30, a Dhaka court granted bail to and released Salah Uddin Shoaib Chaudhury, who was detained at the airport for his attempted 2003 travel to Israel.The ordinance also gives the government the authority to prevent phone operators from delivering messages, in the interest of national security. In cases of national emergency, the government can revoke any permit to provide communications services, without providing compensation to the holder of the license. The ordinance went into effect during a recess in parliament, but must be approved as soon as parliament returns to become permanent law.Police, even in cases not affiliated with the SPA, rarely obtained warrants, and officers violating these procedures were not punished. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claimed that police monitored journalists’ e-mail. The Special Branch of the police, National Security Intelligence, and the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence employed informers to report on and conduct surveillance on citizens perceived to be political opponents of the government.The censor board requested the deletion of a line in the movie “My Architect” that misidentified the country as the poorest in the world during an August screening of the film. In April 2004 the government confiscated the April 2 issue of the Indian magazine, Desh, for using indecent words about Adam and Eve. In April 2004 the government forbade Time magazine from being placed in government establishments, including on the national airline, because of its negative portrayal of the country.

Comparison between Bangladesh & others country

Bangladesh is not alone in facing challenges regarding prison reform. Typically, South Asian criminal-justice systems are still governed by colonial-era laws. In October last year, Bangladesh hosted an international conference with participants from across the region, other developing countries and Europe to discuss prison reform.The conference illustrated that Bangladesh is playing a leading role in this area. Participants from member countries of SAARC (the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation) passed “The Dhaka declaration on reducing overcrowding in prisons in South Asia”. The declaration highlights the need for reform; it urges governments to take steps to tackle the problem of overcrowding in prisons and stresses the need for alternatives to impris­onment.The declaration further highlights that imprisonment should be a remedy of last resort, which should only be used when the seriousness of the offence makes any other sanction or measure clearly inadequate. It also urges governments to use pre-trial detention less frequently and for shorter periods and recommends to amend relevant laws accordingly.

The Government of Bangladesh is now considering to host an SAARC summit of law and home ministers on the matter. Such a forum would facilitate the sharing of good practice on a more formal and consistent basis.

Canadian  Prison Conditions

Canada’s correctional facilities are suffering from “wear and tear,” according to a recent article by the Citizen, with 80% of the nation’s correctional officers (about 4,700) set to retire in the next 5 years. Spokespeople from CSC acknowledge that prison infrastructure is failing, saying that most of the service’s 54 institutions are over 40 years old. While the prison system receives about $1.6 billion a year, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day says his government may have to funnel another $225 million over the next 5 years to add, repair, and rebuild new prison cells for the expected growth in inmates due to the Conservative government’s plan to stiffen prison sentences. Because more prisoners have historically been sentenced to shorter prison terms, the prisons experience a “revolving door syndrome” that taxes the stability of the facilities. CSC says there is an added burden of prison populations changing, such as an increase in younger and gang-related offenders that require different housing specifications

Alleged prison gang member sentenced to 12 years in prison

27 year-old Pedro Garza Diaz, an alleged member of the Texas Syndicate prison gang, was sentenced to a 12 year prison term, concurrent with an additional sentence, after pleading guilty on August 7 to several counts of aggravated assault, deadly conduct, aggravated robbery and burglary of a habitation. Some of his cases involve codefendants, including the robbery offence.


The CRC states that neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without the possibility of release shall be imposed on children under the age of 18. Section 15 of the Children Act provided the procedure for sentencing and there is direction through which the court may direct the probation officer to prepare a social inquiry report, but in reality there is rare application of these provisions.
Children between the ages of 16 and 18 are not covered by the Act, and are therefore subject to adult sentences, which is inconsistent with Article 37(a) of the CRC. Children may be subject to adult terms of detention if they are found to be “unruly or depraved.” Under special provision, children as young as nine in Bangladesh are subject to life imprisonment. The Children Act provides limited scope for non-custodial dispositions. Strict regulation should be in place to ensure that children are not subject to corporal punishment, solitary confinement or other cruel and inhuman punishments. However, the proviso to section 51 allows the Court to award a sentence of imprisonment and for the child to be kept in a place other than a certified institute if the Court is satisfied that the child is of so unruly or of so depraved character that he cannot be  committed to a certified institute. Thus sentence under section 52 is the norm and one under section 51 would be an exception when certain conditions apply.

A subjective comparison of Germany and the United States in Prisoners

I grew up in Germany, lived there for 26 years, then moved to the United States in 1992. First I was a graduate student and now I work as a college teacher.

There are many stereotypes in Germany about life in the United States. Here I will try to compare these stereotypes to the reality in the US as I perceive it. In this comparison, I will also portrait the situation in Germany so that Americans might learn something about my country and Germans have something to criticize.

I am constantly generalizing here; I’m talking about “the Americans” and about “the Germans” and I’m aware of the fact that, strictly speaking, these generalizations are wrong; I’m trying to capture a hypothetical average. And not even that: just the average of my personal acquaintances mixed with some information gathered from news media (mainly The New York Times and Süddeutsche Zeitung, the best newspapers in their respective countries in my view). The first observation is that, in most instances, the US show a much larger variation than Germany does, so that talking about the “average” is more dangerous when referring to the US than when referring to Germany. Since I started this page several years ago, I repeatedly noticed that the differences between America and Germany are getting smaller, a result of Germany moving in America’s direction.

In Germany, all murderers can be and often are paroled after 15 years in prison (except for terrorists and the psychologically abnormal), while in the US murderers are lucky if they can get away with a life sentence without the possibility of parole (a sentence considered to be violating human dignity and therefore unconstitutional by the German high court, the Verfassungsgericht). In the US, children as young as 13 are often tried as adults for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in adult facilities, and 16 year old murderers were sentenced to death (this latter practice was finally stopped by the Supreme Court in 2005). In Germany, children under 14 cannot be punished at all, and juveniles under 18 cannot be sentenced as adults. People under 21 can be treated as juveniles if the court finds them to be immature.

Prisons, Jails & Probation – Overview

  1. (prisons & jails – writ of habeas corpus) “By way of background, the writ of habeas corpus is a venerable legal procedure that allows a prisoner to get a hearing before an impartial judge. If the jailer is able to supply a valid legal basis for the arrest and imprisonment at the hearing, the judge will simply order the prisoner to be returned to jail. But if the judge discovers that the imprisonment is illegal, he has the power to set the prisoner free. For that reason, the Framers of the American Constitution routinely referred to this legal procedure as the “Great Writ” because it was considered one of the great safeguards of individual liberty.”
  2.  (prisons & jails – detention until trial) “In the U.S., when a person is charged with an offense they may be detained in jail until their trial or they may be released to await their trial in the community through a variety of mechanisms which will be discussed later. In many other nations, people are said to be “remanded,” which is a summons to appear before a judge at a later date. If they are not released pretrial they can be “remanded to custody” until their court proceeding; if they are convicted, they can be remanded to custody prior to sentencing or during an appeal process.”
  3. (prisons & jails – pretrial detention) “Pretrial detention is associated with a higher likelihood of both being found guilty35 and receiving a sentence of incarceration over probation,36 thus forcing a person further into the criminal justice system. In the United States, this is particularly important because of the sheer numbers: with 20 percent of the total number of people incarcerated being pretrial, that means nearly 500,000 people each year are more likely to be found guilty and sentenced to incarceration, thus significantly adding to the total number of people in prison.”
  4. (prisons & jails – parole – definition)Parole is a period of conditional supervised release in the community following a prison term. It includes parolees released through discretionary or mandatory supervised release from prison, those released through other types of post-custody conditional supervision, and those sentenced to a term of supervised release.”
  5. (prisons & jails – probation – definition)Probation is a court-ordered period of correctional supervision in the community, generally as an alternative to incarceration. In some cases, probation can be a combined sentence of incarceration followed by a period of community supervision.”
  6. (prisons & jails – local detention facilities) “Jails, which are also primarily local in nature, detain not only persons arrested for local offenses, but also virtually all persons charged and awaiting trial under State law. jails may also house detainees and State “prison-ready” inmates — convicted and sentenced persons whose transfer to State prison is delayed by overcrowding or other reasons. In most such cases, State or Federal governments pay fees to the local communities that house these prisoners.”

Although the terms “jail” and “prison” are sometimes used interchangeably, most members of law enforcement distinguish between the two. Primarily, the difference is that a jail is used by local jurisdictions such as counties and cities to confine people for short periods of time. A prison, or penitentiary, is administered by the state, and is used to house convicted criminals for periods of much longer duration. Both are part of a larger penal system which includes other aspects of criminal justice such as courts, law enforcement, and crime labs.

Capacity of Prisons in Bangladesh

The Prison of Bangladesh have accommodation for about 27,300 prisoners. But in a average 80-90 thousand prisoners live in those prisons. As a result of holding more inmates than the capacity, prisons become incompatible for prisoners and providing proper service and facilities became a tough task.Here is a scenery of prison of Bangladesh

DivisionCapacityNumber of Prison

A jail is designed for short time periods only, it tends to have less amenities than a prison. Individuals who are being housed in a jail have access to bathrooms and are provided with food and water, and in a low security jail, they may be able to socialize in common areas during certain periods of the day. Most jails are designed to hold a very small number of criminals, and have relatively lax security when compared to prisons, although in areas prone to violence, a jail may be run along very strict lines. A jail houses people who have been convicted to serve a short sentence, individuals awaiting trial, people who have not yet paid bail, and detainees who have just been picked up on suspicion of committing a crime. The criminals are processed through a booking procedure, and the criminal justice system decides what to do with them after that.

Steps in the right direction for Prisoner:

Despite these issues, the Government of Bangladesh has shown commitment to improving the situation in prisons and to consider the overall reform of the criminal justice system. The Ministry of Home ­Affairs and the Prison Directorate are working with the ­support of the German Government through the Deutsche
To reduce overcrowding, an approach to suit the Bangladeshi context has been successfully developed and implemented in Africa, particularly in Malawi and Sierra Leone. The focus is specifically on under-trial prisoners without access to legal support. Paralegals from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been trained to identify “forgotten” prisoners who are often incarcerated for longer than their supposed sentence. This is the first time that the government has allowed “outsiders” to work inside prisons. It is a good example for an effective public-private partnership. In three pilot prisons (out of 68 prisons in total) these paralegals have been able to identify a large number of prisoners who should not be in prison, ­either because they have already been imprisoned for longer than their supposed sentence or because they are innocent. The work of the paralegals has had a significant impact on reducing overcrowding in these pilot prisons. To date, 1057 prisoners have been released. The approach is therefore likely to be rolled out to further prisons in Bangladesh in the future. Here is a bunchof proposal which are supposed to replace the existing plight of the prisons of Bangladesh.

  • Outdated laws and procedures concerning prisons should be amended to institute a more humane and sophisticated approach.
  • There should be seperate4 prison for female prisoners near the larger central & district Jail.
  • Formal complaint mechanism fo0r prisoners are recommended to reduce human security violations.
  • The system of visit should be improved so that it provides checks & balances to the administration of prisons.
  • In fracture and other necessary facilities should be provided so that all basic needs can be fulfilled.
  • More prison should be set up with modern facilities of a prison to mitigate the congestion in the prisons.
  • Overwhelming corruption of the prisons staffs and officers should be dealt with rigorously.
  • The staff of the prisons must change there behavior and treat prisoners with respect.
  • Healthy & Hygienic environment must be ensured.
  • Special attention should be given for the young women & physically disable person

The Govt. has taken up some project to prompt welfare of the inmates and bring them back to be integrated in society. Hopefully all Concern will take it as a moral commitment for upgrading the Human dignity.


In a prison, the amenities are much more extensive, as some prisoners may be serving their lives behind bars. Prisons have exercise areas, common areas for eating and socializing in lower security areas, church facilities, and an educational facility which includes classrooms, libraries, and labs to work and study in. In lower security prisons such as those used to imprison people convicted of white collar crimes, the prison could sometimes be mistaken for a hotel. In most cases, prison inmates are expected to share cells with other inmates, and because of the long duration of most prison sentences, a complex social and political structure arises among the prisoners.

A prison is capable of handling far more prisoners than a jail is, and the prisoners are typically segregated on the basis of the types of crimes that they have been convicted of, as a safety precaution. In addition, in countries which still have capital punishment, a prison maintains facilities to carry out capital sentences, along with housing for criminals sentenced to this type of punishment. In general, the prison facility as a whole is very tightly secured, even if not all the criminals inside are violent, to prevent escapes or potential violence between wings of the prison. Prison staff are specially trained to work in a prison environment, and a board of governors appointed by the state oversees prison management.

Prison System

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