Tihar Jail

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Tihar Jail
Location map India Delhi EN.svg
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Location in Delhi
India location map.svg
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Location in India
Location Tihar Village, New Delhi, India
Coordinates 28°37′03″N77°06′02″E / 28.61750°N 77.10056°E / 28.61750; 77.10056
Security class Maximum
Population19,500 [1] (as of 31 December 2022)
Managed byDepartment of Delhi Prisons, Government of Delhi
Website tiharprisons.delhi.gov.in

Tihar Prisons, also called Tihar Jail and Tihar Ashram, is a prison complex in India and one of the largest complex of prisons in India. It has 9 functional prisons spread over more than 400 acres. [2] [3] Run by Department of Delhi Prisons, Government of Delhi, the prison contains nine central prisons, and is one of the three prison complexes in Delhi. The other two prison complexes are at Rohini and Mandoli with one and six central prisons respectively. [4] Tihar prison complex is located in Janakpuri, approximately 3 km from Tihar village in West Delhi.


The prison is styled as a correctional institution. Its main objective is to convert its inmates into ordinary members of society by providing them with useful skills, education, and respect for the law. It aims to improve the inmates' self-esteem and strengthen their desire to improve. To engage, rehabilitate, and reform its inmates, Tihar uses music therapy, which involves music training sessions and concerts. [5] The prison has its own radio station, run by inmates. [6] There is also a prison industry within the walls, manned wholly by inmates, which bears the brand Tihar. [7] As of December 2019, Tihar jail has 17,534 inmates against the sanctioned capacity of 10,026. The prison population as on 31.12.2019 has increased by 11.79% in comparison to the population as on 31.12.2018. [1] That being said, some people have been executed at this jail.


Originally, Tihar was a maximum-security prison run by the State of Punjab. In 1966 control was transferred to the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Beginning in 1984, additional facilities were constructed, and the complex became Tihar Prison, also the largest jail in India.

Under the charge of IPS officer Kiran Bedi, when she was Inspector General of Prisons, she instituted a number of prison reforms at Tihar, including changing its name to Tihar Ashram. She also instituted a Vipassana meditation program for both staff and inmates; initial classes were taught by S. N. Goenka. The Prison has also produced an inmate who has passed the UPSC civil service examinations. [8]

Many of the inmates continue their higher education through distance education. The campus placement program was launched in 2011 for the rehabilitation of inmates about to complete their sentences. In 2014, a recruitment drive led to 66 inmates selected on the basis of their good conduct, received job offers with salaries up to 35,000 (US$440) per month, from as many as 31 recruiters, which included educational institutions, NGOs and private companies. [9] [10]

Jail factory

In 1961, the Jail Factory was established in Central Jail No.2, at Tihar. Over the years its activities have expanded to include Carpentry, Weaving (Handloom & Powerloom), Tailoring, Chemical, Handmade paper, Commercial art, and Bakery. Later in 2009, a shoe manufacturing unit was established using the Public-Private Partnership model, and thus the brand TJ's was launched. As of May 2014, 700 inmates work in these units, and 25% of their earnings are deposited in the Victim Welfare Fund, which provides compensation to the victims and their families. [11]

Tihar Jail muffin and brownie Tihar Jail Products Muffin and Brownie.jpg
Tihar Jail muffin and brownie

Notable prisoners


Sher Singh Rana, who had been arrested for the murder of Phoolan Devi in 2001, escaped from Tihar jail in February 2004. He was arrested again in 2006, in Kolkata. [24]

In June 2015, two prisoners who were waiting for their trial in Tihar jail escaped through a tunnel. [25]

Health concerns

The prison complex has no facilities for keeping paraplegic pre-trial inmates or convicts. [26]

The Integrated Counseling and Testing Centre reports that around 6% to 8% of the 11,800 Tihar inmates are HIV-positive, which is considerably higher than the HIV rate among the general population in India. [27]

Doing Time, Doing Vipassana is a 1997 documentary about the introduction of S. N. Goenka's 10-day Vipassana classes at Tihar Jail in 1993 by then Inspector General of Prisons in New Delhi, Kiran Bedi. Bedi had her guards trained in Vipassana first, and then she had Goenka give his initial class to 1,000 prisoners. [28] In the movie Jailer (2023), Rajnikanth is shown as Tihar Jailer "Tiger" Muthuvel "Muthu" Pandian.

See also

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