"Nobody barring the superintendent would be allowed to carry mobile phones inside the jails. Besides this, the proposal for according sanction to the installation of 4G jammers in the jails has been sent to the Union Home Ministry and full body scanner installation is also being contemplated." This was disclosed by the Jail Minister, Punjab, S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa here today at Markfed Bhawan in an interaction with the media-persons after presiding over a high level departmental meeting.The minister said that today's meeting attended by the high ranking officers of the department and the superintendents of all jails, was convened to review the security of jails in Punjab besides the loopholes and implementing the reforms. He further said that after the meeting, it was decided to equip the jails with all the state of the art technological paraphernalia so as to curb illegal activities and recruiting new staff in the jails which would be done soon.The Jail Minister further elaborated that those inmates of the jails who are desirous of pursuing academics would be provided with the congenial atmosphere and all assistance. He also added that the health of the inmates would be given topmost priority inside the jails for which he would demand from the Health Ministry to depute on permanent basis expert doctors. He also said that for installing 4G jammers, case needs to be sent to the Union Home Ministry, Intelligence Wing and Defence Ministry and it is after getting the nod from them that these jammers can be installed thus equipping the jails with modern gadgets. He also said that 10 sniffer dogs would be recruited as part of the reforms to be carried out in the jail department.
S. Randhawa divulged that during the year 2017 a total of 1500 mobiles have been recovered from inside the jails which is a cause of concern. He also added that in order to stop this trend the Additional Chief Secretary would instruct all the District Police Chiefs to probe the mobile recovery cases in an in-depth manner and take remand of the inmates thus enquiring from them about who provided them the mobiles. Divulging more, he said that any jail officer/official found guilty would be given exemplary punishment.Elaborating about the recruitment of new staff, S. Randhawa said that during the recently held passing out parade 150 new staff joined the jail department and the passing out parade of 375 newly recruited staff would be conducted at the end of this month. He said that the process to recruit 210 wardens and 57 matrons is going on. He further disclosed that the Chief Minister has approved the recruitment of additional 420 staff for the department and the recruitment process would begin soon. He also detailed that PPSC has been approached regarding the recruitment of 10 Deputy Superintendents and the SS Board has been approached with regard to the recruitment of 38 Assistant Superintendents. He also said that the recruitment process completion would fill the shortfall of staff inside jails.Apart from this, health insurance scheme for the jail inmates would be contemplated. In present time, the jail department purchases medicines from the health department and provides these to the jail inmates free of cost.
He said that many inmates of the jails are suffering from various ailments and such inmates would be well looked after. He also replied to a query that around 651 inmates are HIV positive.Regarding the capacity of jails and the number of inmates, S. Randhawa said that the total capacity of the Punjab jails is 23218 whereas the inmates number 22375. Giving more details, he said that there are 1119 female inmates while the foreign inmates amount to 132. The total number of undertrials is 13000 and out of 132 foreign inmates-34 is serving their sentence while 98 are undertrial. The inmates serving sentences under NDPS Act amount to 40 percent. He also said that a new jail at a cost of Rs. 194 crore is coming up at Goindwal Sahib which is 60 percent complete. The minister further detailed that in the jails throughout the state, 90 inmates are of hardcore category which are kept in the high security zone.In the meeting, Additional Chief Secretary Home Mr. Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi, ADGP Jails Mr. Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, IG Jails Mr. R.K. Arora, DIG of Jail Ranges Mr. Surinder Singh Saini and Captain Lakhminder Singh Jakhar and the superintendents of all jails were present.