Jail authorities in Madhya Pradesh plan to build high-security watchtowers and boundary walls for all 122 prisons over the next 15 years as part of a revamp scheme, government sources told HT on Thursday.
The detailed action, strategic and prospective plans that will be sent to the Niti Aayog include a three-year action plan, seven-year strategic plan and 15-year prospective plan, which will effect major structural changes to the jail infrastructure.
Still on the drawing boards, the plan prominently mentions building security watchtowers in all the jails, including central jails, district jails, sub jails and the only open jail in Hoshangabad district. At present the critical security feature is only existent in the 11 central jails and a few district jails.
The watchtowers are essential as several jails in MP house terror suspects, dacoits and kingpins of dreaded organised gangs.
The other prominent feature of the plan is building fenced boundary walls around jail campuses to segregate the main jail from the quarters for jail staff and other facilities.
The department’s plan also includes providing rent-free residential quarters for more than 6600-plus staff base across the state in the jail premises. Presently, only 60% of the jail staff lives in residential quarters built by the department.
Also proposed is a plan for expanding the capacity of existing jails, particularly the ones in Chhindwara, Damoh and Ratlam, besides building a long-awaited district jail in Burhanpur that would lessen the burden of inmates from Khandwa Jail.
On the lines of the central jails, the jail department also plans to start trials of security sensitive prisoners via video conferencing. The department says in the long run, full-fledged court trial of inmates via video-conferencing would be possible in all 122 prisons.
The detailed plan also enlists provisions of CCTV cameras in all jails, besides building an open jail within each of the 11 central jails. Presently, the only open jail is located at Hoshangabad district, which also has a central jail, jail department sources added.
The Hoshangabad open jail houses 25 cottages with separate toilet, bathroom and kitchen facility. Those prisoners (excepting those convicted for crime against women and children) who are close to completing their prison term (mostly lifers) and have had a record of good conduct are houses in the open jail, where they stay with family and work outside the jail in different jobs.