The Punjab prisons department has carved out separate high-security zones for dangerous prisoners in nine central jails in the state.
At present, there are 225 gangsters and 35 hardcore gangsters lodged in various jails in the state.
The move to create different zones for hardened criminals is a part of measures being taken after the sensational Nabha jailbreak that had exposed the casual security arrangements in Punjab prisons.
Additional director general of police (ADGP-jails) Rohit Choudhary said high-security zones have been created in central prisons at Patiala, Ludhiana, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Bathinda, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and the high-security prison at Nabha.
In these zones, hardened criminals and gangsters will be lodged separately from other inmates. The ‘mulakat’ (meeting) time for them will also be different and their movement will be limited, monitored personally by jail superintendents. “Proposals for additional equipment needed in this regard have been sent to the government,” the ADGP said.
The high-security zones, he said, will be fully covered by watch towers and new towers will be constructed depending on the area of the respective zone.
Random but extensive search of dangerous prisoners will be conducted at least once a day and the security personnel will also be searched before their entry into and exit from such zones.
The ADGP said warder and head warder with good record will be posted in each high security zone. An assistant superintendent -rank officer will be in-charge and deputy superintendent (jail) will supervise the high-security zone.
“These officers will be allowed to maintain anonymity by nondisplay of name plates and will be rotated periodically in view of threats to them and their family members from dangerous criminals,” Choudhary said.
In view of the anticipated threat escalation to jail staff on duty, the prison department has mooted a proposal to the government to give 15% risk allowance for warder/head warder and assistant superintendent (jail), and 10 % risk allowance for deputy superintendent (jail) in-charge of high-security zone.