Dhaka Central Jail the oldest and biggest jail in
Bangladesh. Mughal subadar Ibrahim
Khan built a fort at present Chawk Bazar area in Dhaka, which later
became the residence of Naib Nazim of Dhaka. A criminal ward was built
inside the fort in 1788 during the rule of east india company which later was converted
into the jail. In the late eighteenth century, there were 500 to 550
detainees in ten wards in Dhaka Jail. At the outset, two paisa was
allotted as daily food allowance for each of the detainees. In 1790, the
food allowance per detainee was increased to one anna. Later on, the jail
building was widely extended. The jail is now known as the Dhaka Central
Jail. In view of its antiquity and the number of detainees the Dhaka Central
Jail is now the largest jail in Bangladesh.
Central Jail was built on 36.76 acres of land. The interior over area
within the perimeter wall measures 17.55 areas of land, and outside
area 19.21 acres of land. There are 48 wards, 12 cell building, 233
rooms in the cells, 5 kitchens, 6 work sheds, 4 training sheds for
maintenance work, 1 jail bakery, 1 daycare center and a multipurpose
shed inside the jail compound. Moreover, there is a two-storied
building, which is used for interview of the prisoners with visitors
and an office complex adjacent to the main gate.
are 783 officers and employees in the jail including 1 senior jail super,
1 deputy jail super, 1 jailer, 8 deputy jailers, 3 assistant surgeons, 2
pharmacists, 1 senior assistant, 10 jail assistants, 3 senior chief jail
guards, 30 chief jail guards, 1 matron and 703 jail guards.
prisoners brought into the jail are divided into two categories: hajati
(temporary detainee) and kaedi (term detainee). The captives are
confined under 6 categories such as civil detainee, pending detainee,
women detainee, below 21 year-old male detainee, minor male detainee and
convicted male detainee. However, the authority decides where the
detainees of these categories are to be accommodated.
Central Jail has the capacity to hold 2682 prisoners including 8 male
prisoners having awarded death-sentence, 5 male detainees, 574 male and
80 female under trial prisoners, 1868 male and 54 female convicted
prisoners and 100 male captives on miscellaneous charges. However, at
present the prison daily holds prisoners four times of its capacity.
rules, bread and molasses are served to the prisoners at breakfast,
boiled rice and vegetables/fish/meat/pulse during launch and dinner. But
the 1st and 2nd class prisoners are served with better meal than the
general inmates. The sick prisoners are served food according to their
nature of disease. Presently a prisoner is supplied 116.64 grams of Atta
or (flour), 291.60 grams of boiled rice, 145.80 grams of red-lentils,
14.58 grams of molasses, 291.60 grams of vegetables, 35.52 grams of salt
(diet) (ordinary salt 29.16 grams), 5.12 grams of onion (diet) (ordinary
4.10 grams), 2.27 grams of chili (diet) (ordinary 1.82 grams), 1.13 grams
of turmeric powder (diet) (ordinary 0.91grams), 0.056 grams of coriander
power (diet) (ordinary 0.045 grams), 22.77 grams of edible oil
grams) and 72.90 grams of fish (diet) (ordinary mutton) per day.
Hajati or temporary detainees are given the equal amount of food,
they are given 87.48 grams of Atta, 247.86 grams of boiled rice and beef,
instead of mutton. In every Friday, each detainee is given 349.92 grams
of fuel wood, 14.58 grams of cloth washing soda, 10.92 grams of mustard
oil and 29.16 grams of coconut oil (for female detainee), one soap for
female head in every month. Although the quantum of fuel wood to the Hajati
and coconut oil and soap to the females are equal to the prisoners or
(Detainee for terms), the detainees are supplied 10.92 grams of
soda and 3.64 grams of mustard oil.
nurses and pharmacists have been engaged for the treatment of the inmates
of the Dhaka Central Jail. There is a hospital in the prison compound.
The detainees may buy fruits, toiletries, dry food, tea, singara,
samucha, puri etc from the canteen of the prison by their earned
money deposited in their names to the jail authority.
Training and education program Prisoners are imparted training
inside the compound of jail to enhance their skill. The female prisoners
are taught stitching, tailoring, quilt-stitching, making of paper bag,
shopping bag, and envelope and the male prisoners are offered training on
maintenance and repair of electronic goods, paper packets, writing
banners and signboard, fish farming. The profits they earn by means of
hard-labour are deposited to their respective accounts, and with this
money the prisoners may purchase foods from the jail canteen. In
addition, they may deposit the money for future.
Central Jail arranges literacy program for the illiterate detainees. Even
it provides religious education. In this regard, the captives are endowed
with general as well as religious education by the jail teacher and Imam
of the Jail Mosque.
A day-care center was set up there on 30 June 2004. The center has
100 seats for the infants, where they are provided with balanced diet
from the budget of the jail. The children are offered religious and
primary education in separate groups: play, nursery and pre-primary. This center has toys
including carom, ball, ludu, badminton, cradle and dolls for the
children. Apart from these, the children are given opportunity to watch
television, VCD, cartoon, dances and music, recitation of rhyme and
paintings. One officer from Department of Social Welfare and an assistant
nurse serve there on deputation. Besides, two medical assistants from the
Department of Health, two teachers from the Department of Women’s
Affairs, two female prison-guards from the Department of Prisons, five
Ayas or maidservants and four sweepers are engaged in the daycare center.
The Central Jail library has
a stock of various books on religion and literature. The prisoners
may borrow books for acquiring knowledge as well as to pass the leisure.
Darbar System is a traditional open house interactive session
introduced in the central jail. With the Darbar System, participation of
all responsible officers and employees of the prison are ensured. By this
program, the employees of the jail get the opportunity to put forward
their demands or complaints to the higher authority. In order to
eliminate corruption in the jail, Darbar System plays a significant
role. The concerned DIG
chairs the Darbar and conducts hearing.
Gallows There is a gallows
in Dhaka Central Jail in order to hang the prisoner awarded
death-sentence. As per Jail Code, the execution is done on the presence
of concerned officials including a first class magistrate, a doctor and a
jail super. Once the day is fixed up for the execution, the person is
medically checked up by the doctor and thereafter the jallad or
the hang man carries him to the gallows for hanging.
Bangabandhu and four leaders jail
Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was confined in Dhaka Central
Jail for a long time. In his memory, Dewani cell of the
jail has been transformed into a museum. There is enough space outside
the cell, but on the other hand, the inside is very congested. Here,
personal belongings of Bangabandhu have been kept for display with lebels
affixed on those indicating the time frame of usage of the goods. In order to know about the Jail
life of Bangabandhu, a library has been set up there. A statue of
Bangabandhu has been installed in the open space. Goods used by
Bangabandhu such as prayer cot, prayer mat, pot for ablution, a
cage of Myna bird, bed sheet, tin-made plate, cooking pot,
cup-plate, small wooden reading table, wooden chair, some old clothes and
cookers have been put on display in front of the cell. In the premise of
the museum, six pillars were erected each of which symbolises the
historic six points, credentials of freedom of the Bangalee. Trees
of Kamini flower and Sofeda fruit planted by Bangabandhu
inside the jail compound are kept as it was. The bathroom and kitchen
used by him have also been included with the Museum.
museum was set up inside the Dhaka Central jail as a mark of respect to
four national leaders: Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Captain Mansur
Ali and AHM Kamruzzaman, where they were mercilessly killed. The Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Memorial Museum of Bangabandhu and
four leaders on 9 May 2010.
the rush of old Dhaka, over crowded situation, security crisis in the
prison and ever-increasing number of prisoners, too phases of the Dhaka
Central Jail have been constructed at Kashimpur in the district of
Gazipur. As per the Jail Code, a prisoner is entitled to enjoy 36 sft of
space in a ward for sleeping. Since the Dhaka Central Jail accommodates
about ten thousand prisoners with capacity of 2682 prisoners so they are
compelled to pass the night standing, sitting and sleeping by turns. In order to lessen the pressure,
the jail is now planning to be shifted to Keranigonj. [ASM Jahurul Islam]
Also see Jail.