Model Prison Manual (2003)
(for the Superintendence and Management of Prisons)
The main objectives/aims of the project are:
(i) To review the laws, rules and regulations governing the management of prisons, treatment of prisoners and
to make recommendations for devising good practices and procedures on the basis of
comparative analysis of the provisions of the States Prison Manuals by identifying gaps in their provisions for
managing and administering prisons.
(ii) To examine various aspects relating to treatment of prisoners with special reference to their basic minimum
needs compatible to the dignity of human life in the light of the recommendations made by
the All India Committee on Jail Reforms (1980-83), Supreme Court Judgments and various international
instruments to which India is a party.
(iii) To look into the procedure regarding the internal management of prisons with a view to uphold the rights
of the prisoners and the development of prison staff in terms of custody, security nstitutional discipline,
institutional programmes for the specialized treatment of women, adolescents, children and mentally sick
person, staff recruitment and training and to suggest measures with a view to develop prisons as correctional
(iv) To scrutinize and analyze the implications of the proposed Prison Management Bill being finalized by the
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
(v) To finalize the draft of Model Prison Manual by evolving national consensus on the relevant issues relating
to Prison Reforms in India.
(vi) Any other matter relating to management of prison administration that the committee
may like to consider.
1. The Committee approved a tentative chapter scheme for the proposed Model Prison Manual and decided to
evolve a national consensus on various aspects to be covered therein by appointing six Working Groups
comprising senior prison administrators from various states.
2. On the basis of intensive discussions and deliberations on the subjects assigned to it, each Working Group
submitted the drafts for consideration of the committee. In this process, the Working Groups were duly
assisted by the secretariat of the committee by way of all the relevant research material
including the following:
(i) A review of the existing laws, rules and regulations governing prisons;
(ii) A comparative analysis of the provisions of the State Prison Manuals;
(iii) A thorough study of the recommendations made by the All India Committee on Jail Reforms, Supreme
Court Judgments and various international instruments on the treatment of prisoners to which India is a party;
(iv) A close scrutiny of the implications of the proposed Bill on the prisons being finalized by the MHA;
(v) Identification of gaps in the provision of State Prison Manuals.
3. Thus, the present draft of the Model Prison Manual has been prepared on the basis of a national consensus
evolved through a cross-section of prison administrators and experts drawn from various parts of the country.
The draft is further proposed to be circulated among all the States and UTs to
elicit their comments and suggestions, if any, for incorporation. The final draft is likely to truly represent the
best of wisdom from all over the country to bring prison system in tune with the Constitutional provisions,
Supreme Court judgments and the international instruments subscribed by
The Model Prison Manual prepared for the Superintendence and Management of Prisons in India comprises 28
Chapters with 9 Appendices, namely: Definitions; Institutional Framework; Headquarters Organization;
Institutional Personnel; Custodial Management; Maintenance of prisoners; Medical Care; Contacts with the
Outside World; Transfer of Prisoners; Execution of Sentences; Prisoner Sentenced to Death; Emergencies;
Education of Prisoners; Vocational Training and Work Programme; Welfare of Prisoners; Remission; Leave
and Special Leave; Premature Release, Prison Discipline; After-care and Rehabilitation; Open Institutions;
Undertrial Prisoners; High Security Prisoners; Women Prisoners; Young Offenders; Board of Visitors;
Staff Development; and Miscellaneous. Each chapter is divided into several provisions under the separate head,
which is based on indepth discussion with various relevant quarters to evolve national consensus. The
Committee submitted this Manual to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and after its
acceptance / approval, this Manual was circulated to all States/ UTs for its adoption, after making suitable
amendments based on local ground situations. This manual would prove a vital instrument for the states in
streamlining their prison administration and bringing prison reforms in tune with the current penological and