Odisha to deploy drones to keep an eye on jail inmates and their activities
With liquor, cannabis, mobile phones and other such items making it to jails, the Odisha government plans to install high-tech drones for stricter aerial surveillance of the inmates as well as to keep an eye on activities in the prisons.
Director General of Prisons, Santosh Upadhyay said the drones which would be operated from a control room would help mount watch over unlawful activities, hard-core prisoners and also monitor other unwanted developments inside the sprawling premises of the jails that are not covered under CCTV surveillance.
“The process for procurement of the drone cameras has been completed. As per the initial estimate, each drone set up will cost around ₹4 lakh,” he said.
The prison directorate would also procure 20 body cameras for Jharpada Special Jail in Bhubaneswar and Choudwar Circle Jail in Cuttack district. The jail personnel coming in direct contact with inmates will be equipped with the body cams.
“Cameras will be used by the staff to record any wrongdoing by inmates in areas not covered by CCTV cameras, during searches when inmates return from courts and hospitals and while shifting notorious criminals to hospitals,” said Upadhyay.
The two jails will have prisoner calling system under which biometric details of all prisoners including two telephone numbers will be collected. The inmates will be asked to provide two telephone numbers of their family or acquaintances with whom they would like to speak. After verification, the numbers will be fed into the calling system.
A prisoner will be allowed to talk for a maximum of five minutes and pay ₹5 per call. The facility will have auto-disconnection system. The new calling system which will be gradually expanded to other jails will help curb misuse of existing phone systems where inmates have often been found allegedly making illegal contacts.
In May this year, the chief warden of Jharpara special jail in Bhubaneswar was suspended after mobile phones, SIM cards, mobile chargers, mobile batteries, a pen drive and cannabis were recovered from the prison. A video of dancing and ganja smoking in the same jail had earlier gone viral on social media bringing embarrassment to the prisons department.
In April this year, police in Koraput district had seized cash, a mobile phone, dumb-bells, iron rods and a pen drive from some under-trial prisoners following a raid at Jeypore sub-jail.