For first-time inmates, jails are darker than hell.
After spending a month inside, they realise everything has a price inside the correctional home.
The police through their investigations and questioning of the accused who have spent time inside, have learnt that right from a boiled egg to having a hygienic sleeping area, a jail inmate has to pay certain amount to the so-called “bhais” inside the jail.
And if one has the money, his stay would be comfortable and he would stay out of “trouble”. One also needs the blessings of a “bhai” inside to live in peace.
“We are trying hard to break the dominance of certain people inside jails,” said an official of the prison department.
Interestingly, a bhai or don inside is an inmate imprisoned for a heinous crime.
Read more Jail fights on who’s the boss
A police officer said, “Accused who are lodged inside for murders are the most-respected ones inside. Every barrack has a leader to whom the other inmates have to stoop.”
On the other hand, accused imprisoned for rape or molestation are not accepted easily inside the jail and have to go through a lot of misery.
According to police sources, “Immediately after an accused enters the jail premises, the gangs initially try to get an understanding of an accused as to what case they have been arrested for and his family members. If the accused proves to be a soft target, they extort a lot of money from them.”
However, during the course of interview conducted by the bhais inside the jail on the second day of entering, they also offer them a better place to sleep, which costs something between Rs 40,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh a month.
“Every barrack has an open area which has good ventilation. It is usually the entrance of the barrack. The leader of the barrack sleeps in that area. While the amount depends on the capacity of an individual, if an inmate doesn’t wish to pay the amount, they will have to sleep near the toilet, which is the most-unhygienic place in the jail,” added a source.
On the other hand, the bhais easily fund their families outside, as these amounts are collected by their family members from a new inmate’s family.
Officials said from investigations they have learnt that for making a phone call, an inmate has to pay around Rs 500 for three minutes. A recent search inside the high-security Anda Cell of Arthur Road Jail followed by a police probe revealed that the inmates “misuse” their lawful right of carrying their case’s document files with them, to take phones inside the jail.
Inmates were found concealing the phones in cavities made in the thick covers of their case files to carry them inside jails, police probe revealed. Even good food has a price with a single boiled egg costing Rs 100.
“After the phones are handed over to them, the inmates shove the phones ---- which are small Chinese ones ---- in barracks in shoes and other places, to hide it from the jail authorities and remove it whenever they wish to call. This process is called “godown” in jail lingo,” said a source.
The jails are severely overcrowded, as 200 inmates are given only 2,000sqft space. The source claimed an individual doesn’t get to sleep on their back, as they have to sleep either on their right or left side of the body.
“Inside the Arthur Road Jail, the number 8 circle is very famous, as the big fish, which includes accused in cheating cases or other high-profile politicians, are lodged inside the respective barracks,” said a source.
Inside the jails, the saying “you are innocent till proven guilty” works the other way round ---- “you are guilty till proven innocent”.