The state prisons department has sent a proposal to the home department seeking permission to use dog squads for checks and as guard dogs to prevent any illegal activity in various prisons across the state.
Dog squads are currently used by various police units to detect contraband and explosives and are attached to the bomb detection and disposal squads (BDDS) and the anti-narcotics cell (ANC). If permitted, this will be the first instance of dogs being used in prisons.
In the recent past, inmates have smuggled SIM cards, narcotics and other substances in biscuit packets, in case papers that are needed for court hearings. Jail officials have found inmates trying to smuggle in phones/SIM cards under their clothes, as body scanners were not used to frisk inmates in jails till some time ago. An inmate was found smuggling cash in his specially made footwear. A few inmates have also managed to get drug packets hurled across the prison wall by their accomplices on the outside.
A high-ranking officer of the prison department said the department has taken measures such as installing modern machines to detect smuggling and starting a vigilance cell to curb illegal activities. However, every time the state and prison authorities beef up security, the undertrials come up with innovative ways to smuggle goods.
“There is a possibility that the checkers may get influenced or may not be accurate. So we want to induct trained canines, similar to the police department, to ensure stricter checks to put an end to smuggling of goods in prisons,” the officer said.
If the proposal is cleared, the prison department will have to train its staff to handle dogs, officers said, adding they are likely to tie up with the police department, which has a school to trains its personnel as dog handlers.
Additional director general (Prison) BK Upadhyay said the prison department had send a proposal to the state home department seeking permission to use dog squads for searches and for guard duty.