Jail Khana

Introduction of Jail Khana

Jail Khana was the Official Detention Center and Prison Prototype of Nepal established during the Rana Regime. Although it wasn’t sufficiently big to include all criminals, it was fundamental to imprison heinous Criminals until their fate was decided. Therefore, it acted as the Holding Center for Criminals until they were provided Punishment.

Primarily, Jail Khana was established to rehabilitate Prisoners for small-scale crimes and provide Harsh Punishment to Heinous Criminals. The Punishment was decided either by the Courts or by the Prime Minister. After the rest and before the sentencing, the Accused would be detained in this facility.

Brahmins were not often housed at this institution unless they had done exceptionally horrific crimes because of the religious interpretation that killing Brahmins was a sin and could land the Killer in Hell.

Functions of Jail Khana

Rehabilitation of Prisoners

The Jail Khana was established in Nepal with the intention of rehabilitating Prisoners or methodically using them in benefit of the Ranas. In 1912 AD, prisoners were put to work on roads and houses built by various companies established by the Rana Family. Even the Singha Durbar could be built by the labor of the Prisoners.

Also, the Prisoners had less time to Think and had to continuously work. Therefore, it decreased the chances of Internal Conflicts and Prison Fights.

Sentencing and Release

The Jail Khana was exclusively a regulatory Body for Sentencing, Punishment and Release of Prisoners. The Head of the Prison or the Chief of Administration of Prison was called Arjavegi. He had to determine the Schedule of sending those Prisoners to work on Roads and Houses.

The jail also had to handle getting the prisoner released and decreasing the remaining portion of their sentence for Good Conduct although it was practiced rarely.

The Head of the Prison rarely allowed these privileges. The Courts handled these Cases and if they couldn’t come to a specific Conclusion then the Head Prisoner could do as he wished based on the advice of Hajuriya General.


Jail Khana was expected to punish individuals that were convicted of a Crime by a Court of Law or Torture individuals involved in Anti-Rana Protests. They could exile such Individual altogether from the Kathmandu Valley or inflict any punishment deemed necessary.


The Jail Khana was the Official Detention/Prison Facility in Nepal reserved to Convicted Criminals. The primary functions of Jail Khana were the rehabilitation of prisoners, sentencing and release, and punishment.


Pokhrel, A. (2023). Jail Khana – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/ranas/jail-khana/