Madhya Pradesh is contemplating use of Global Positioning System-enabled (GPS) trackers to deter convicts from escaping when they are taken out of jails to work in adjoining fields.
Jail officials are considering this technology after two convicts serving life terms recently escaped from an agriculture field near Bhopal Central Jail, a top official said.
Unlike cramped jail premises in most states, Madhya Pradesh prisons are housed on huge pieces of land, and the adjacent fields are used for agricultural activities and running gaushalas (cowsheds). Convicts with good conduct who have served more than one-third of their term are usually taken out for work.
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The state has 123 prisons, including 11 central jails, which house 16,203 men and 611 women convicts. “On average, 1,500 to 2,000 prisoners work outside the prisons every day. GPS trackers are common abroad but we thought of embracing them after the recent episode (of prisoners escaping),’’ Deputy Inspector General of Prisons (Law) R S Vijayvargiya told The Indian Express.
A GPS tracker is tied to the wrist, and an alarm goes off if the convict travels beyond a set limit. The tracker will require a key to open, and are not easy to break or disengage, officials said. According to a rough estimate, each tracker could cost Rs 20,000, but jail authorities argue it would work out cheaper than constructing high walls on adjacent land.
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