Visitors’ entry to Punjab jails set to be computerisedhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/visitors-entry-to-punjab-jails-set-to-be-computerised/

Visitors’ entry to Punjab jails set to be computerised

Phillaur blames recent deaths of inmates on drug overdose.

In order to strengthen security at various prisons in Punjab,state government Thursday decided to maintain computerised records of visitors. Directives in this regard have been sent to jail superintendents,said Punjab’s Jail Minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur.

“The government is trying to get security personnel from other states or central para-military forces on a reciprocal basis for securing the outer ring of jail premises to reduce inter-mingling and fraternising of security personnel with convicts,” he said,adding,“For securing the inner ring and restricting inmates from mingling with security personnel,about 700 ex-servicemen from the Punjab Ex-servicemen Corporation (PESCO) would be deployed at an annual estimated cost of Rs 8 crore.”

Taking serious note of allegations that drugs and mobile phones were finding way inside the jails,Phillaur said X-ray machines,scanners and sniffer dogs would also be used to monitor visitors’ entry. District Magistrates have also been asked to check visitor’s records for discrepancies,he said.

Referring to the issue of the recent deaths of the prisoners in some jails,Phillaur said that after monitoring the entire situation,it has been found that many of these individuals were drug addicts and had taken an overdose shortly prior to death.

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He said that some drug peddlers recently arrested under the NDPS Act were also found to be drug addicts and suffering from ailments caused by prolonged abuse of intoxicants. “Many of them suffered from serious and untreated ailments. After arrest they tended to consume a heavy dose of drugs procured illegally through family members and sympathisers. This caused a sudden shock to the system,resulting in deterioration of health and rapid death,” he said.

Philaur has also directed the jail superintendents to ensure immediate assessment of the medical condition of a person upon arrest. Those found to be suffering from a serious medical condition will be admitted to hospital first for stabilisation before being lodged in prison.

Phillaur said the capacity of drug de-addiction centres would be enhanced and other facilities like psychiatric care and counselling services would also be incorporated. The new jail at Nabha near Patiala,with a capacity of 500 inmates,will be equipped with a “drug de-addiction prison” where addicts from other jails in Faridkot,Ferozepur,Mansa and Bhatinda will be admitted.

“The aim is to improve mental and physical conditions of these prisoners so that they can lead a healthy life even while being lodged in jail,” Phillaur added.