To curb smuggling of objects inside jails, the Maharashtra state prisons department has obtained three baggage scanners for central jails, two of which will be allotted to the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai and Yerawada jail in Pune.
The department will get three more baggage scanners for the other central and district prisons under the phase 1 of the modernisation scheme.
The prisons department recently got Rs 1.81 crore from the state government for the scanners. “Inmates or their relatives often manage to get items smuggled in, sometimes with the involvement of the prison staff. The scanners will keep a check on such activities,” said an officer from the department, on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Also, there have been instances where inmates, while returning from courts, have picked up items that are not allowed on the jail premises or have got money on their way back to the jail. A case in point could be the smuggling of four mobile phones and one SIM card inside the high-security cell of Arthur Road jail in November 2014. According to officers, the articles were smuggled into the cell, which housed terror suspects, by creating a cavity in a file that was used to carry the court papers.
The scanners will also prevent the passage of food and other essential articles, often smuggled in for the inmates by the staff, on a daily basis.
Meeran Borwankar, additional director general, prisons, said, “We will check everybody's bags. The six scanners procured under the phase 1 will cover important central jails, while the other jails will be covered in subsequent phases.”
Not allowed, but found its way inside:
* The Maharashtra prisons department comprises nine central prisons, 27 district prisons, 10 open prisons, 1 open colony and 172 sub-jails
* In addition to it, there are two separate prisons for women at Pune and Mumbai, and one open prison for women at Pune
* The department has its headquarters at Pune
* Baggage scanners will be eventually installed at all central and district prisons
* In the past few years, apart from mobile phones, SIM cards, knives, gun, money, eatables and other such articles have been smuggled into the jails in the state
What else is being procured?
* Multi-zone doorframe metal detectors: 7
* Handheld metal detectors: 100
* Mobile jammers: 28
* Walkie-talkies: 120
* Apart from the CCTV cameras installed in jails will also be upgraded
Jails in Maharashtra (NCRB 2013 statistics)
* Total capacity of the jails in the state: 24,544
* Actual inmate population: 27,400
* Total occupancy percentage: 111.6