To bring more transparency in functioning of jails, the prisons department has put in place computerized identification system to keep tabs on the ‘mulaqats’ or meetings inmates have with relatives and counsels. The visitors are also required to furnish an identification proof before being allowed to meet the prisoner. Also these meets will be now under CCTV coverage monitored by the jail staff.
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“Relatives (parents, siblings, uncles and spouses) are allowed to meet prisoners once a week. Even lawyers are allowed to meet them. We now allow meetings only if they are able to furnish identification proofs. Even the meeting area is covered by CCTV and monitored,” Inspector General of Police, Prisons, Rajvardhan Sinha told The Indian Express.
After taking over as IG, Prisons in June last year, Sinha started measures to ensure jails work transparently and there is no corruption. One of the major steps is strictly not allowing mobile phones inside the jail.
To ensure that the lower rung staff don’t develop a close rapport with inmates, their duty is rotated. “It’s only when the staff is assigned the same barracks to monitor for a long period that they tend to become friendly with inmates who could try to exploit the closeness by luring them with bribes to get their work done. We, have ensured that they are on rotation,” another senior official said.
Other than putting staff on rotation, the jail staff also keep on changing barracks of inmates to ensure they don’t form groups. “The prisoners tend to form groups within themselves if they are lodged in the same barrack for a long time,” the official added.