The Madhya Pradesh jail department, after conducting an internal survey following the escape of eight alleged SIMI operatives from a Bhopal prison last week, has come to the conclusion that the state requires additional barracks to accommodate over 11,000 inmates, use upgraded technologies and increase its manpower.
The department’s assessment stated that Madhya Pradesh’s 122 jails are currently accommodating 11,347 prisoners more than their capacity and need an additional 568 barracks — costing an approximate Rs 284 core — to lodge the inmates safely.
Experts said the overcrowding of jails is becoming a major issue and has the potential to comprise their security. MP jails currently house 140 prisoners against an authorised capacity of 100 inmates, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data.
The assessment also found that there is an average annual addition of around 4.1 % inmates in jails, which requires the creation of 375 additional barracks.
The department’s self-evaluation also noted a severe lack of manpower at these jails — there are currently five pramukh prehris (head warders) against the requirement of 261. Similarly, the state has 887 mukhya prehris (chief warders) against the requirement of 1,300 and 4,482 prehris (warders) against the requirement of 6,500.
Jail department principal secretary Vinod Semwal said the assessment is based on the new Model Prison Manual, 2016 which was approved by the Union home ministry in January.
“According to this assessment, we need to upgrade our infrastructure, increase our manpower, and increase the use of high-tech technology for the proper management and security of the jails in the state, in light of the new model prison manual. The assessment also concluded that we need 46 watch towers, 49 night-vision equipment, 42 baggage scanners, 32 CCTVs , six motorcycles per central jail, two motorcycles per district jail and one motorcycle for every sub-jail in the state,” Semwal said. “We also require four jeeps each for the central jails.”
The secretary also said that plans are afoot to install cell phone jammers in the four central jails in MP.
“A jammer costs around `50 lakh. To begin with, we have plans to put jammers at central jails in Gwalior, Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur,” he said.
Semwal said the assessment will be provided to the four- member committee conducting the security audit of central jails in the state.