Tihar Jail

Coordinates: 28°37′03″N 77°06′02″E / 28.61750°N 77.10056°E / 28.61750; 77.10056
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Tihar Jail
Tihar Jail is located in Delhi
Tihar Jail
Location in Delhi
Tihar Jail is located in India
Tihar Jail
Location in India
LocationTihar Village, New Delhi, India
Coordinates28°37′03″N 77°06′02″E / 28.61750°N 77.10056°E / 28.61750; 77.10056
Security classMaximum
Capacity5,200(out of total 10,026 of other two jail)
Population14,059(out of total 20,458 of other two jail)[1] (as of 31 December 2023)
Managed byDepartment of Delhi Prisons

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, 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 2023, Tihar jail has 14,059 inmates against the sanctioned capacity of 5,200. The prison population as of 31 December 2023 has increased by double in comparison to the population as of 31 December 2018.[1][8]


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.[9]

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.[10][11]

Jail factory[edit]

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.[12] A CSR initiative has been launched to provide a Level 4 training program comprising 340 hours of coursework to 1,200 inmates from the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) to empower inmates for a productive post-release life, as a step toward the rehabilitation of undertrials incarcerated for minor offences.[13]

Tihar Jail muffin and brownie

Notable prisoners[edit]


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.[26]

In June 2015, two prisoners who were waiting for their trial in Tihar jail escaped through a tunnel.[27]

Health concerns[edit]

The prison complex has no facilities for keeping paraplegic pre-trial inmates or convicts.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30]
  • In the movie Jailer (2023), Rajinikanth is shown as Tihar Jailer "Tiger" Muthuvel "Muthu" Pandian.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Department of Tihar Prisons". Government of Delhi. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  2. ^ Tihar jail factsheet, TiharPrisons.delhi.gov.in, Retrieved 2023-05-09.
  3. ^ Tihar prison in India: More dovecote than jail. The Economist (5 May 2012). Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  4. ^ "Official Website of Central Jail, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, India". tiharprisons.delhi.gov.in. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  5. ^ "Now, a Tihar Idol". The Times of India. 10 June 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Tihar gets its own radio station – TJ FM Radio". The Economic Times. 30 July 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  7. ^ Mukharji, Arunoday (4 February 2007) "Brand Tihar is serious business" "CNN-IBN". Ibnlive.com (20 June 2007). Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  8. ^ 25 crime lords, 160 gangs: Why Delhi jails are a security nightmare.Hindustan times (December 2023).
  9. ^ Relief to Tihar inmate after he makes it to IAS The Hindu, 11 February 2009
  10. ^ "Recruitment drive in Tihar jail: Inmate offered Rs 35,000 per month". The Times of India. 6 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  11. ^ Soumya Pillai (7 May 2014). "Photo story: from jail to job, Tihar inmates get employed". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 7 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Tihar Jail Products". Tihar Jail. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  13. ^ Livemint (25 November 2023). "Good news for prison inmates in Tihar! Now, they will get skills training". mint. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  14. ^ "Subrata Roy pays Rs 1.23 crore for special facilities in Tihar jail". The Times of India. 7 December 2015.
  15. ^ a b India's Powerful Can't Escape Jail, BusinessWeek, 9 June 2011
  16. ^ Cash-for-votes scam: Court sends Amar Singh to judicial custody till 19 September,India Today, 6 September 2011
  17. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Main News". www.tribuneindia.com.
  18. ^ "Khalistanis in US, UK, Canada plan protests to seek release of KLF activist Jaggi Johal from jail". 3 November 2022.
  19. ^ "Press reports about Anca Neacsu wife of Abhishek Verma". India Today.
  20. ^ "Anca Neacsu photos from press reports". 9 June 2012 – via Getty Images.
  21. ^ "Multi-crore arms deals: videos of Home Ministry, alleged kickbacks".
  22. ^ Lokapally, Vijay (1 July 2013). "When his sister thought Milkha was shot". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  23. ^ "14 दिन के लिए तिहाड़ जेल भेजे गए पूर्व वित्त मंत्री पी. चिदंबरम". Aaj Tak.
  24. ^ "Congress leader DK Shivakumar sent to Tihar jail in money laundering case". 19 September 2019.
  25. ^ "Zee News editors sent to Tihar jail". Hindustan Times. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  26. ^ "Phoolan murder accused arrested in Kolkata". DNA India. 25 April 2006. Archived from the original on 20 September 2022. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  27. ^ "India prisoners dig tunnel to escape from Tihar jail". BBC. 29 June 2015. Archived from the original on 16 December 2023.
  28. ^ Mathur, Aneesha (12 July 2012). "Tihar says no facility for paraplegic, murder accused gets bail". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 26 September 2022.
  29. ^ Chauhan, Neeraj (30 May 2011). "340 HIV positive prisoners in Tihar". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 6 November 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  30. ^ Holden, Stephen (8 July 2005). "Prisoners Finding New Hope in the Art of Spiritual Bliss". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2014.

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