J&K prisons to have effective jamming system to prevent illegal access of mobile phones by inmates

MHA sends fresh guidelines to J&K admin; mulls effective prison administration, advanced security of prisons; first time offenders to be segregated from criminals, steps to be taken to prevent prisons from becoming breeding ground of anti-national activities; unnecessary movement of jail staff to be restricted*

Srinagar : In a bid to upgrade the security of prisons and streamline the prison administration in J&K and elsewhere in the country, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs have announced a slew of measures that entails putting in place effective jamming system to prevent use of mobile phones by inmates.

The MHA also plans to segregate first time offenders from criminals to prevent mix-up and stresses on steps to be taken for ensuring prisons doesn’t become “breeding ground for anti-national activities.”

A letter issued by the MHA has been forwarded to the Principal Secretary Home (J&K), other states/UTs, and DG prions of J&K and other UTs, a copy of which is available with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), reads that as part of the continuous process of sharing guidance with the States and UTs, for strengthening the prison administration and ensuring the security of prisons etc., the following suggestions are to be implemented.

“Medical facilities in jail hospitals/dispensary may be strengthened and improved in such a manner that reduces the requirement of referral of inmates outside the prison complex,” the letter reads, adding that “Psychological assessment of inmates by competent medical professionals may be encouraged to reduce depression in prison inmates and provide them with a positive outlook in life.”

The letter further reads that the assessment of inmates by Psychologists and Correctional Experts may be done wherever necessary for studying the stress and behavioural issues of inmates and appropriate programs may be prescribed for them.

“Prison staff may be encouraged to make use of innovative methods for better prison administration and may also be provided appropriate upskilling in this regard. Non-habitual criminals among the prisoners should be trained to impart training to other prisoners,” the letter reads. “State Governments and Prison authorities should take effective steps to prevent prisons from becoming breeding ground for anti-national activities, for which regular inspection of prisons may be conducted. The inmates may also be motivated to leave the life of crime and become responsible citizens of the nation.”

To discourage complacency and corrupt practices in Prisons, the letter states that Prison staff may be rotated on a regular basis. Inter-Jail (and not Intra-Jail) transfer of staff every two years is considered desirable.

“Unnecessary movement of jail staff in and out of the jail should be restricted and controlled effectively, for which proper entry and exit registers of jail staff may be maintained. The Jail structure and periphery wall of all Jails may be inspected, and to the extent possible, it may be ensured that the distance between the outer wall and wall of the jail ward/complex are designed in such a manner that incidents of throwing contraband items from outside the jail is not possible.”

The letter stress that effective jamming solutions with the use of modern day advances in technology may be ensured to “restrict illegal access/use of mobile phones by inmates.”

“First time offenders and repeat offenders may be segregated and should be housed in separate wards/prison complex with a view to ensure that habitual offenders are not able to negatively influence the first time offenders,” the letter states, adding that the role of NGOs dealing with prisons may be verified periodically—(KNO)

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