Next time an inmate from the Arthur Road prison tries to jump over the walls, a buzzer will go off alerting the prison establishment and the inmate will suffer electric shocks from a charged power fencing. The fencing is set to encircle the prison if a proposal from the Maharashtra prisons department is approved by the home department.
An officer from the prison department said that this idea was mooted after five inmates excaped from the Nagpur central prison in May this year. It was decided that the security measures needed to be upgraded to ensure similar incidents were not repeated in other prisons.
The officer said, “Since at Arthur road jail there have been instances of people trying to climb walls, we felt that a metal fencing was necessary. We decided to have it electrically charged so that anyone touches it will get an electric shock.” The officer added that the voltage would not be high and the inmates would not suffer any injury.
The fencing will also have a buzzer attached to it, with an alarm placed in the jail control room. It will go off if someone tries to tinker with it. “We want to ensure that we know about unsuccessful attempts too. Once the buzzer goes off, we will be able to track down the inmate who attempted to escape,” said the officer. These measures will be replicated across the state.
At least 100 CCTV cameras have been installed in the prison premises over the past year to keep an eye on the prisoners. However officers admit that despite these measures, their biggest challenge remains the over-populated prison which has a capacity to house 800 persons, but houses at least 2500 persons.
An activist who works closely with the prisons said that the rate of escapes was quite low. “You may have high-end security measures. However, if your staff is corrupt, it all comes to naught. So people escape from high-security prisons across the world.”
When contacted, Inspector General of Prisons (south region) Bipin Kumar Singh confirmed the proposal but refused to elaborate on it.