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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Cellphones in jails - Hi-tech, hand-held gizmos to track presence of e-gadgets

  Updated: Aug 13, 2019 16:53 IST

These high-end gadgets can detect electronic items like mobile phones even if switched-off and hidden behind bricks and concrete

The days of prison inmates using cell phones to plan and execute crimes, issue threats and make extortion calls from behind bars may soon be over in Uttar Pradesh.

The Yogi Adityanath government is all set to procure and deploy state-of-the-art Non-Linear Junction Detectors (NLJDs) in prisons across the state, officials said. The move follows the installation of mobile phone jammers and solar power systems to keep these jammers running 24x7, installation of CCTV cameras, pressing hand held, deep search metal detectors, as well as pole metal detection systems into service in jails.

These high-end, hand-held NLJDs allow users to detect and locate hidden electronic items such as cellular phones, even if the electronic item is turned off and not transmitting signals, as they are capable of detecting even tiny electronic components, a senior official of the UP Prisons Administration and Reform Services department said on conditions of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

These gadgets are able to detect and locate electronic devices even if hidden in high-density materials such as bricks, concrete or ground, making them ideal for use in prisons and the reason why these are used in jails across the world, he added.

A missive dated August 9, 2019, in this regard has been sent by joint secretary (prisons) Surya Prakash Singh Sengar to the director general of UP Prisons Administration and Reform Services.

In the first phase, 10 of these NLJDs are to be procured as part of a pilot project with nine to be sanctioned to separate range offices including Allahabad, Varanasi, Faizabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Meerut, Bareilly and Agra. One such NJLD is to be procured for Sampurnanand Jail Training Institute-Lucknow to train prison and police officials, the missive spells out. A copy of the missive is in the possession of Hindustan Times.

These 10 NJLDs are to be procured at a total cost of over Rs 1.90 crore with each of these high-end detectors costing Rs 19,09,240 for which administrative and financial approval has been granted. These NJLDs will be used during search check operations carried out by the respective DIGs (prisons) of these nine ranges in jails under their jurisdiction.

Inmates in UP jails

The state has 71 prisons of various levels including central and district jails, sub jails, model prisons and women prisons. Barring a Kishore Sadan at Bareilly, all are functional. The total capacity of 71 prisons is 59,000 inmates but according to the website of the prison administration and reforms, around 1,00,343 inmates, including convicts and under-trials, are lodged in UP jails as of July 2019.

Photo caption: An NJLD in use. (For representation only)

First Published: Aug 13, 2019 16:53 IST

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