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Prison Labour: A Comprehensive Analysis

Sanjana Balaji, School of Law, SASTRA Deemed University


There are various punishments and theories of reformation that have been propounded over the past few years. One of the major reformative ways for crime is prison or penal labour. This topic is not widely discussed in India but has had an average amount of deliberations across different countries. This article aims to highlight the basic idea of penal or prison labour and provide an overview of the laws in place for the same. The role of colonialism which resulted in a systematic form of prison labour stirred many debates about the need for prison labour, most of which has been discussed below in detail. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Minimum Standard Rules for Treatment of Prisoners have provided for rules for treatment of prisoners and have mentioned the concept of prison labour. International covenants like these have been used to examine the position of various countries regarding prison labour and the article further analyses the gaps that can be covered using laws. British case studies have used in certain parts of this article in order to better illustrate the views. The correlation between human rights and prison labour has been dealt with while focusing on the role of women and children, and by concluding with the necessity and importance of laws for this particular practice.

Keywords: convict labour, wages, reformation, vocational training


Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research

Abbreviation: IJLLR

ISSN: 2582-8878


Accessibility: Open Access

License: Creative Commons 4.0

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​All research articles published in The Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IJLLR or its members. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the IJLLR.

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