The Karnataka prisons department is set to introduce new telephone kiosks within jails in the state as part of an effort to curb criminal activities by the prisoners.
Under the new system, that is likely to be inaugurated in about a month’s time, prisoners will be able to make phone calls to only two mobile or telephone numbers of their choice while in jail.
The prisoners will only be allowed to contact their advocate and a family member or friend under the new system. The prison department has proposed collection of biometric data of prisoners for providing access to the two numbers of their choice. The biometric data will enable unlocking of the telephone kiosks and the telephone will not allow prisoners to call any other number other than the two registered under their name.
Prison department officials claimed that the new system will prevent prisoners from running rackets through associates located outside the prison — a phenomenon often witnessed in recent times. Police investigations into many criminal cases have revealed that kingpins of various rackets sit in prison and operate their gangs by using telephones, including mobile phones brought illegally into jail.
The move to implement the new system comes in the wake of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah directing the Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) KV Gagandeep to prevent prisoners from using mobile phones in jails. Following the CM’s direction, jail authorities conducted raids in the prisons with the help of local police and seized many mobile handsets. The prison authorities also installed cellphone signal jammers at important prisons in the state.
Subsequently, KV Gagandeep placed a proposal before the state government to set up the new telephone kiosks. To prevent the misuse of telephones, prisons should adopt the Prison Call System on the lines of Tihar jail, the Karnataka prison official had proposed. The state government recently approved the proposal. Conversations of the prisoner will also be recorded .
Prison department officials said the new system will be introduced in eight prisons in the state by setting up 12 kiosks. An officer from the prison department said Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bangalore will get three kiosks, Belgaum and Bellary prisons two kiosks each. The Gulbarga, Mysore, Dharwad, Bijapur and the women’s central prison at Tumkur will get one kiosk each. “Each kiosk will cost around Rs 11.8 lakh and the total cost of the project is Rs 1.41 crore for 12 kiosks and eight servers,” a prisons official said.