11 Lesser-known Facts About Tihar Jail Will Give You A Different Insight Into Prisons

Behind the prison bars of Tihar Jail, lies a sinful prisoner, tormented and troubled, as he watches his life pass by in those walls of prison, which will never let him see the ray of hope ever. All he can ever do is think and regret his sins. By sitting with legs crossed and turning the aged pages of Bhagavad Gita, he hopes someday the book will free him.

This my friend, is slightest clue of pain I could imagine as a writer sitting in an air-conditioned room. To know more about the prison life in Tihar Jail, scroll down, as I disclose to you some unknown facts.


1. Tihar Jail has been operating since 1957

In 1966, its control was transferred to the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Beginning in 1984, additional facilities were constructed, and the complex became Tihar Prison.

2. Tihar Jail is the largest prison complex  in South Asia

It is now run by Department of Delhi Prisons, Government of Delhi. The prison contains nine central prisons, and is one of the two prison complexes in Delhi, along with a district prison at Rohini Prison Complex

3. Kiran Bedi, as the Inspector General of Prisons, instituted a number of prison reforms at Tihar

Yes, you heard it right. Kiran Bedi, India’s first woman IPS officer, was instrumental in starting the Vipassana meditation program for both staff and inmates; initial classes were taught by SN Goenka. The prison has also produced an inmate who has passed the Indian Administrative Service civil service examinations.

4. It is more than just a jail, it’s an institution

Its main focus is to convert its prisoners into ordinary members of society by educating them with useful skills, education, and respect for the law. There are also rehabilitation centres which aims to improve the inmates’ self-esteem and strengthen their desire to changed their lives

5. Tihar Jail houses several high-profile undertrials but they are treated equally just like any another prisoner

Former Union Communication Minister A Raja was given seven blankets to sleep on. There were no beds or pillows inside his cell, which housed a small, dingy toilet. He used to use two blankets to cover himself up, four others to sleep on and one as a makeshift pillow.

6.  There are over 14,000 prisoners for a capacity of 6,250

The prison is in the middle of a crisis because it is vastly overpopulated and with a majority of inmates being controlled by organized gangs of undertrials and convicts, there is hardly any space for new inmates.

Source: TimesofIndia

7. TJ’s is a unique brand with a wide range of products which are manufactured by the prison inmates in Tihar Jail factory.

TJ’s has a variety of products such as bakery products, handloom & textile, apparel, furniture, pure mustard oil, recycled hand-made paper products, paintings, designer candles & lamps, jute bags, herbal products and many more.

Visit their offical site to know more.

8. In June 2015, two prisoners dug a 10-foot tunnel under a wall in the dead of night to escape

19-year-old Faizan was caught as he got stuck in a sewer line but his 18-year-old companion Javed, known as an expert at digging through walls, managed to run away. Both Faizan and Javed were in jail for burglary.

Charles Sobhraj, an international serial killer, escaped from Tihar on 16 March 1986, but was recaptured shortly. 

9. At least 20 gangs and more than 30 sub-gangs operate freely inside the high-security jail

The gang are named after the leaders. There’s Haddi, Atte, Kikri, Ravi Dabolia gang, Bidi and Chawanni-Atthanni, Bawania gang and few others.

“Gangs have existed in Tihar for decades. But of late, they have started functioning in a more organised manner. Most top gangsters in Delhi, NCR and Haryana are behind bars and run their operation from the prison complex,” a source said.

10. The blood-letting and the illegal usage of mobile phones has reached an all-time high this year

There have been 17 deaths in four months (March-June). Such figures raise uncomfortable questions about security inside the much-vaunted prison complex.

11. New arrivals are lured with promises of free access and security.

They are also enticed with exemption from ‘fresher party’ where a new inmate is subjected to all kinds of torture upon arrival.


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