To curb use of mobile phones, Punjab jails go digital

  • Ravinder Vasudeva, None, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Jul 05, 2015 18:57 IST

To prevent unauthorised use of mobile phones in Punjab jails and to monitor phone calls by inmates, the state prison department has installed prison call system in all 23 jails of the state.

The system, one of the various hi-tech techniques being adopted by the Punjab jails department, provides a transparent system of calling on two specific phone numbers, one each of family and the advocate of the prisoner, for five minutes twice a week.

Additional general of police (ADGP jails) Rajpal Meena, who is monitoring the implementation of the ambitious digitisation project of Punjab jails, told HT that the jail authorities can now record the call deytails of inmates at telephone kiosks which will have biometric devices to check misuse of the service.

"The system won't allow a prisoner to make a call in normal conditions if he or she has availed the facility in a given week before," said the ADGP, who claimed that Punjab jails are at present undergoing a series of digital changes.

In another reform, the entire system of parole, premature release, number of cases, punishment, custody details, wages earned, jail offence and jail transfer will be directly viewed by the higher authorities in order to check favouritism in jails.

"All this is being done under the e-prison programme. The entire data of the Punjab jails is being registered in a software which has been provided free of cost by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). Under this system, whenever a prisoner is transferred to another jail, the data is transferred digitally there," said Meena.

The e-prison portal contains the prison management system, visitor management system, hospital management system and canteen management system. The system can generate need-based monthly, fortnightly and yearly reports. The NIC has conducted two training sessions for 28 prison employees for the project.

The ADGP said a proposal had been sent to the Union government to fund the project under the Bharat Nirman scheme.


In order to stop misuse of coupons and eradicate corruption in jails, the jails department has already introduced smart e-purse card system in 18 jails across the state.

Under e-purse system, every undertrial or inmate would be given a smart card with a deposit capacity of `500 and `1,000 per meeting (with relatives or known persons). An undertrial is allowed to have two meetings in a week, while a convicted person can have only one meeting with relatives per week.

Swap machines have been installed in jail canteens to purchase goods and the system of giving coupons has been stopped. Every purchase made by inmates is recorded in the machine.

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