Hyderabad: In these days when CCTV cameras are almost everywhere, it could appear strange that 99 per cent of Telangana’s prisons still bank heavily upon the agility and alertness of their guards.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? But fact is that the Cherlapally Central Prison is the only one in the State that has cameras for electronic surveillance, with the rest depending on manual vigil.
Director General of Prisons V K Singh, admitting that most prisons in the State were prone to prison breaks as there was shortage of staff and a total lack of electronic surveillance, says efforts are on to improve the situation.
There are 30 prisons in the State, including three central prisons, while there are 10 district jails and sub jails. Put together, these correctional institutions house around 10,000 prisoners.
Those awarded imprisonment of over two years are lodged in central prisons while the others are used for those with lesser sentences.
“There are cameras only in the Cherlapally Central Prison to maintain surveillance around the high security barracks where those involved in terror cases are lodged. There is no such facility at any other prison,” Singh said.
High security prisoners are of three categories – those involved in terror related cases; Maoists; and those arrested in major scams.
“Around 30 prisoners are linked to ISI, SIMI, ISIS and Indian Mujahideen. All of them are lodged in various prisons due to security reasons and going by the number of terror case prisoners, electronic surveillance is a must,” the DG says.
The State government has sanctioned Rs.30 crore for enhancing security at the prisons, though the amount is yet to reach the Prisons Department.
“We plan to install closed circuit cameras as it will help us tide over the staff shortage of around 400 personnel. At the same time it will reduce the manual tasks of frisking the prisoners when they are moved out for attending courts or hospitals,” he explained.