After the introduction of telephone facility at the Cherlapally Central Prison here evoked a good response among jail inmates, the Andhra Pradesh Department of Prisons has decided to extend the service to other central jails in the State.
The move is aimed at bringing down the smuggling of cell phones into jails. It would enable prisoners to communicate with their family members in an official way, for which, they will have to pay Rs 200 per month.
“Following numerous requests by prisoners...we are exploring the possibility of starting the phone facility at Chanchalguda Central Prison here and also at Rajahmundry in East Godavari district,” Director-General (Prisons and Correctional Services) T. P. Das told PTI.
The facility also reduces the number of visits paid by the prisoners’ relatives, who have to travel long distances to meet their dear ones lodged in jails, authorities said.
According to Das, frequent interaction with their family members will provide the prisoners the much-needed psychological relief and contribute to their mental stability.
“We are studying the cost factor, selection of the service provider and installation of software that will record the conversation of prisoners (for security reasons),” Das said, adding this facility was likely to get started in about three months at Chanchalguda and Rajahmundry jails.
The telephone facility, which was first introduced at Cherlapally Central Prison in March this year, has witnessed around 150 outgoing calls every day with almost all the prisoners, numbering around 2,000, registering their names to use the facility, another jail official said.
After setting up of this facility, incidents of mobile phones being illegaly brought into the jail has also come down.
The authorities take biometric thumb impressions of the interested prisoners, who need to provide two contact numbers of their relatives to register for the phone facility by paying Rs 200, wherein they are allowed to make phone calls twice a week, the official explained.
After the thumb is placed on the touch-screen facility, it will display the two phone numbers already fed in and the prisoner after selecting the particular number can make the call that will last for a five-minute duration (and will get disconnected automatically).
The call will also be monitored by prison staff.