Shinde made the remark while inaugurating the 33rd Asian and Pacific Conference of Correctional Administrators.
He said that society's expectations from the criminal justice system, particularly the prison and correctional administration, are wide and varied and sometimes conflicting with each other.
Shinde said alternative modes to imprisonment should be considered and implemented.
"In most countries of the world, imprisonment is the main punitive measure imposed on individuals who have been convicted of a criminal offence. However, over-emphasis on imprisonment has many adverse effects," said Shinde.
"It not only adversely affects the individuals, but also the families. The trauma of the imprisonment of a member of the family together with economic factors causes tremendous pressure on the families," he said.
He said there were problems in the Indian prison system.
"I am aware of the problems and challenges that confront the correctional service system of our country," said Shinde.
Noting that a majority of the people lodged in prisons belong to the under-privileged sections of society, he said most of them consist of first time offenders involved in technical or minor violations of law and constitute 90 percent of the prison population.
"Around two-thirds are under-trials and this ratio has remained constant. The occupancy rate is 112.2 percent in 2012 which has come down gradually from a high of 145.4 percent in 2005. The incarceration rate in India per lakh of population is 32 prisoners in comparison with 130 in Australia, 149 in UK and 716 in US," he said.
--IANS (Posted on 24-09-2013)