From Justice Definitions Project

As a noun, a convict is an individual who has been found guilty of a criminal offense, following a trial, guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendere.

Convict is both a verb and a noun. As a verb, to convict means to prove or officially announce a finding that a criminal defendant is guilty of a criminal offense after a trial, guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendere.

Official Definition

In Prison Statistics India Report 2021, published by National Crime Records Bureau a convict is a type of prison inmate defined as “a person found guilty of a crime and sentenced by a court of law and person serving a sentence in prison”.[1]

Model Prison Manual defines convict as “Any prisoner under sentence of a court exercising criminal jurisdiction or court martial and includes a person detained in prison under the provisions of chapter VIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973 and the Prisoners Act of 1900.”[2]

In Shyam Narain Pandey v State of UP, the Hon’ble Supreme Court defined “convict” as “declared to be guilty of criminal offense by the verdict of court of law. That declaration is made after the court finds him guilty of the charges which have been proved against him”.[3]

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) does not define Convict as such, but it lays down various provisions dealing with the Rights of a Convict.

  • Section 432 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure allows state governments to grant remission to convicts. The provision states that “when any person has been sentenced to punishment for an offense, the appropriate government may, at any time, without conditions or upon any conditions which the person sentenced accepts, suspend the execution of his sentence or remit the whole or any part of the punishment to which he has been sentenced”.
  • Section 433 of Code of Criminal procedure[4] empowers the state and central government to commute a convict’s sentence. In contrast to remission, which only affects the duration of the punishment without interfering with the nature of the punishment, Commutation, on the other hand, changes the nature of the punishment and converts it into a less severe form of punishment.
  • Section 374 of Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the Right to Appeal. Upon conviction, the convicted person can appeal to the higher court against the said conviction.
  • Section 389 (1) and (2) of Cr.P.C. deals with a situation where a convicted person can get Bail from an appellate court after filing the criminal appeal. Section 389 (3) deals with a situation where the trial court itself can grant bail to a convicted accused enabling him to prefer an appeal.[5]

While Part 6-A, section 31-A and 31-B of Prisoners act[6] deals with defining parole and furlough systems for a convict. When a person gets convicted, he/she becomes eligible to apply for parole/furlough and remission. While both parole and furlough are temporary releases from confinement, parole is granted only for a specific purpose. A prisoner is entitled to apply for furlough once he has served the minimum years of the sentence. The “furlough” and “parole” have two different purposes. It is not necessary to state the reasons while releasing the prisoner on furlough, but in case of parole, reasons are to be indicated.

Appearance in Official Databases

Prison Statistics Report

Prison Statistics Report (2021), prepared by National Crime Records Bureau do an yearly statistical analysis of prisons. It includes statistical information on different categories of prison inmates like convicts, under-trials, detenues and their age & gender profiles. Convicts constitute 22.2% of total prisoners.[7] The report presents data on the socio-economic profile of prison inmates, including convict.


A total of 30,894 out of 1,22,852 convicts lodged in various jails in the country were reported as illiterate and 52,542 convicts were educated below class Xth standard. These two categories accounted for 25.1% and 42.8% of total convicts (1,22,852) respectively.[7]

Education profile of Inmates[8]

Domicile Among the 1,22,852 convicted-inmates lodged in various jails in the country, 1,14,696 convicted-inmates belong to the respective states accounting for 93.4% of all inmates.[7]

Domicile of Convicts[9]

Age-Group Inmates belonging to the age group 30- 50 Years were more (62,868) than the inmates of any other age groups.[7]

Age Group [10]

Research that engages with

India Justice Report

The India Justice Report is a first of its kind national periodic report that ranks the capacity of states to deliver justice. It provides statistical information regarding prisons and the problems highlighted by the report are the ones which are being directly faced by convicts. Issues like overcrowding, occupancy, and lack of vocational training directly impact the living conditions of convicts.

Socio-Economic Profile

Welfare Schemes

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to launch a special scheme, 'Support for Poor Prisoners 'to provide financial support to poor people who continue to be in jails because they are unable to afford the penalty or the bail amount.[11]

Similar Terms

It can be easy to get confused between undertrial, detenu and convict. The term undertrial is self-explanatory, it refers to people who are currently on trial in a court of law, therefore, they can either get convicted or acquitted.[1] If convicted, then they are categorized as convicts. While detenu is a person lawfully held in custody, which means that they have not yet been charged with a crime.[1] As opposed to these two definitions, a convict is a person who has been held to be guilty of a crime and has been sentenced by a court of law.


  1. Prison Statistics India Report prepared by National Crime Records Bureau, available at
  2. Sabah Gurmat, "Prison Statistics India 2020: 76 per cent of prisoners are undertrials; the number of Muslims, Sikhs, SCs, and STs among them disproportionate to their population" Leaflet, available at
  3. Tanuja Harad ,"Women Prisoners Face Poor Menstrual Hygiene Management, Lack of Adequate Facilities", The Wire, available at,
  4. Tata Trusts, "India Justice Report", available at,
  5. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, "Periods in Prison", available at,
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ministry of Home Affairs, National Crime Records Bureau “Prison Statistics India” (2021), available <>
  2. Bureau of Police Research and Development, "Model Prison Manual for Superintendence and Management of Prisons in India", Ministry of Home Affairs <>
  3. Shyam Narain Pandey v. State of U.P., (2014) 8 SCC 909
  4. Section 433, Code of Criminal Procedure 1973
  6. Prisoners Act, 1900
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 National Crime Records Bureau, “Prison Statistics India 2021”, available <>
  8. Prison Statistics of India, <>
  9. Prison Statistics of India Report 2021 <>
  10. Prison Statistics India Report 2021, <>
  11. Express News Service, “Govt launching scheme to help poor pay bail amount, leave jail”, Indian Express available <>
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