IN THE wake of recent instances of jail break, the security of the Yerawada prison and eight other central jails in the state is slated to get a major upgrade following a visit by a team of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to Maharashtra to take stock of the security arrangements at the Nagpur Central Prison.
Officers from the Israel Prison Service, also known as Sherut Batei HaSohar or Shabas, visited Nagpur jail in the second week of this month. This visit came after a team of officials from Maharashtra State Prison Department visited prisons in Israel a few months ago.
A senior officer from the jail department said, “Nagpur jail has had several incidents, including a jail break, cases of violence and recovery of cell phones from inside the jail. Though not to this extent, but high-security jails like Yerawada and Taloja have seen similar cases. Phones were recovered from Yerawada jail. Probe had revealed that hardened criminals had made calls to gang members. Taloja has seen cases of violence.”
“Although the jail administration is taking several steps for rehabilitation of inmates, there is a need for tighter security. There are some prisoners who are beyond reform. The central prisons of the state house members of active gangs, accused and convicts of terror cases and serious crimes. After Nagpur jail break last year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had visited Israel and this led to the co-operation in prison security.”
Bhushankumar Upadhyay, Additional Director General of Police and State Prison Department Head, said, “The work on upgrading the security systems will begin in a month after the required approvals. After Nagpur, the other central prisons including Yerawada in Pune, Arthur Road in Mumbai will be upgraded.”
Another officer from the prison department said, “The upgrade would include effective use of trained dogs for guarding crucial points and sensitive cells, detection of contraband drugs and electronic gadgets including cell phones, better use of security cameras and metal detectors and cyber security. The staffers from the state prisons department will also undergo training by the Israeli officials.”