Tihar Jail

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Tihar Prisons
Location Tihar Village, New Delhi, India
Status Operating
Security class Maximum
Capacity 6250
Population 12000 (approximate) (as of 2006)
Opened 1957
Managed by Department of Delhi Prisons, Government of Delhi
Website tiharprisons.nic.in

Tihar Prisons, also called Tihar Jail and Tihar Ashram, is the largest complex of prisons in South Asia.[1] 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.[2] It is located in Tihar village, approximately 7 km from Chanakya Puri, to the west of New Delhi, India. The surrounding area is called Hari Nagar.

The prison is styled 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.[3] There is also a prison industry within the walls, manned wholly by inmates, which bears the brand Tihar.[4] As of November 2006, Tihar jail has almost 12,000 inmates against the sanctioned capacity of 5,200.[5]


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.

Under the charge of 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 Indian Administrative Service civil service examinations.[6]

Notable inmates[edit]

Health concerns[edit]

The prison complex has no facilities for keeping paraplegic pre-trial inmates or convicts.[10]

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.[11]

TJ FM Radio[edit]

Tihar Jail became the first jail in the country to have its very FM radio station when Director General of Prisons Vimla Mehra launched the 'TJ FM Radio' at Central Jail No 4 in the Tihar complex.The FM Radio has been established to meet the twin objectives of entertainment and training of prisoners as Radio Jockey (RJ).[12]

In popular culture[edit]

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.[13]


  1. ^ Tihar prison in India: More dovecote than jail. The Economist (2012-05-05). Retrieved on 2012-05-31.
  2. ^ "Department of Tihar Prisons". Government of Delhi. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  3. ^ "Now, a Tihar Idol". 10 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Mukharji, Arunoday (4 February 2007) "Brand Tihar is serious business" ''CNN-IBN''. Ibnlive.com (2007-06-20). Retrieved on 2012-05-31.
  5. ^ "Government takes steps to ease overcrowding in Tihar Jail". Press Information Bureau. 2006-12-05. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  6. ^ Relief to Tihar inmate after he makes it to IAS The Hindu, 11 February 2009
  7. ^ a b India's Powerful Can't Escape Jail, BusinessWeek, 9 June 2011
  8. ^ Cash-for-votes scam: Court sends Amar Singh to judicial custody till 19 September,India Today, 6 September 2011
  9. ^ http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20040123/main2.htm
  10. ^ "Tihar says no facility for paraplegic, murder accused gets bail". 12 July 2012. 
  11. ^ 340 HIV positive prisoners in Tihar. Timesofindia.indiatimes.com (2011-05-30). Retrieved on 2012-05-31.
  12. ^ "Tihar gets its own radio station - TJ FM Radio". PTI. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Holden, Stephen (July 8, 2005). "Prisoners Finding New Hope in the Art of Spiritual Bliss". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 28°37′03″N 77°06′02″E / 28.61750°N 77.10056°E / 28.61750; 77.10056