The state’s Prisons Department will soon be deploying sniffer dogs in the prisons across Maharasthra, especially for detection of narcotics and also for guarding premises, Bhushankumar Upadhyay, Additional Director-General (Prisons), said at “Idea Exchange” with The Indian Express staff on Wednesday.
Asked about the security measures and use of surveillance and detection equipment, Upadhyay said, “We are providing modern security equipment to all the jails in Maharashtra. But, yes, there is added focus on central jails as they house more number of prisoners and also have higher density of sensitive prisoners. On priority basis, we have installed the the Closed Circuit TV cameras in the jails across the state. Till now, over 800 CCTV cameras have been installed in the jails and even the smaller prisons have got four to five of them as per their requirement. We have installed baggage scanners in important jails and every article going inside if being screened. Most of the jails now have Door Frame Metal Detectors and Hand Held Metal Detectors. Walkie-talkies have been provided as they are crucial for manning towers and separate points.”
He added, “We are also thinking of deploying sniffer dogs, mainly for detecting narcotics and for guarding the prison premises. The government is thinking very seriously over it. Within five to six months, we will come up with a model on it. But these things take a lot of resources. Deployment of sniffer dogs costs a lot.”
Upadhyay further said, “The issues about the security of prisons are discussed on a regular basis with the officials from the home ministry and a review is also taken by the chief minister. Funds have also been allocated for this.”
In August 2013, an undertrial prisoner was caught at the gate of the Yerawada Central Prison while carrying marijuana. Four separate incidents of seizures of cellphones were also reported from inside the jail in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, over 40 cellphones were recovered from inside the Nagpur Central prison.
‘Date of release not given by us’
Asked about the security arrangements for the release of actor Sanjay Dutt on February 25, as stated by his lawyer and the PR firm representing him, Upadhyay said, “It has appeared in the media that he will be released on February 25. But we have not declared the said date. His lawyer may have.”
Upadhyay said he would not like to divulge the specifics about the release of Dutt as it was a security issue.
Ramdev to hold yoga session in jail today
Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev is scheduled to hold a yoga session inside the Yerawada Central Prison on Thursday morning. Jail officials said he would conduct a session with a group of prisoners.
Regular yoga sessions are already being conducted at the Yerawada jail for both convicts and undertrials. Upadhyay has already announced in the past that an examination of the inmates on their yoga preparedness would be conducted in May and October and based on the grades they get, remission would be granted.