In order to provide better facilities to the prisoners lodged in various jails of Punjab as well as to reduce security violations, the Punjab government would computerize the entire system right from the visitor entry to the frisking.Stating this here today, Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Jail Minister Punjab said that the superintendents of jails have been directed to ensure the arrangements for providing essential items through a computerized system so that economies of scale with quality assurance and without risk of security breach. He also said that the government was working out a strategy to seek security personnel from other states/central Para-military forces on a reciprocal basis for the outer ring of the jail premises so as to reduce inter-mingling and fraternizing of security personnel with convicts. For the security of the inner ring, the Minister said that about 700 trained ex-servicemen would be deployed by Punjab Ex-servicemen Corporation (PESCO) at an estimated cost of Rs. 8 crore per year.
Taking serious note of the entry of drugs and mobiles in the jails, Mr. Phillaur said that the jail authorities have been asked to keep a vigil on the visitors and search them thoroughly so that the bringing of prohibited items could be checked there and then. Modern equipment like X-ray machines, scanners and effective measures like sniffer dogs would be ensured to monitor the visitors entering the jail premises. The jail authorities have also been asked to follow the jail manual stringently before allowing the visitors. District Magistrates have also been asked to inspect the record of visitors in every jail and assess them from the point of view of checking discrepancies and unauthorized access.
Referring to the issue of the recent deaths of the prisoners in some jails, the Minister said that after monitoring the entire situation more closely it was found that many of these inpiduals were drug addicts and had overdosed on drugs
shortly prior to death. The Government had recently launched an intensive state- wide campaign against drug peddlers. Some of the people recently arrested under the NDPS Act were also drug addicts.The Jails Minister opined that when arrested, they were already suffering from physical and psychosomatic ailments caused by prolonged abuse of intoxicants. Many of them suffered from serious and untreated ailments also. After arrest, en route to or from court appearances, they tended to consume a heavy dose of drugs procured illegally through contact with family members and sympathizers. This caused a sudden shock to the system, resulting in deterioration of health and rapid death. The Minister has also directed the Superintendents of Jails to ensure immediate assessment of the medical condition of a person upon arrest. Any person, particularly, a drug addict found to be suffering from a serious medical condition warranting urgent medical care would be admitted to hospital first for stabilization before being lodged in prison.
The central jails have functional drug de-addiction centers which were all being used to treat addicted inmates .Their capacity would be enhanced with more staff and the addition of support services like psychiatric care and counseling services. The prison drug de-addiction centre facilities would be used completely so that jail inmates could be de-addicted through scientific methods. Medical College-Hosptials having drug de-addiction centers would also admit such prisoners for immediate treatment. A fresh batch of training of medical officers under the expert guidance of senior doctors of PGIMER has already been initiated. More doctors would undergo specialized training to offer special de-addiction services in all jails, said the Minister. Since quite a few inmates are addicted to drugs in some way or other, the New Jail at Nabha with a capacity of 500 inmates would be equipped as a ‘drug de-addiction prison’ where addicts from jails in Faridkot, Ferozepur, Mansa, Bhatinda, etc. would be admitted for specialized drug de-addiction, detoxification, counseling, motivation and rehabilitation care. This will go a long way in improving the mental and physical condition of these prisoners so that they could lead a productive and healthy life even while in jail, said Mr. Phillaur.