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Himachal jails overcrowded, lack security mechanism: CAG

April 08, 2017 01:17 PM

Punjab News Express
SHIMLA : Jails in Himachal Pradesh are overcrowded with excess occupancy ranging between two and 122 per cent in the past three years, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has said.

It lamented the plight of inmates by revealing that they were found to be suffering from communicable diseases like tuberculosis and there was a huge shortfall of sleeping berths and security mechanism.

Against the capacity of 1,732 prisoners in 12 jails in the state, there were 2,076, 2,137 and 1,962 prisoners as on April 1, in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively, said a CAG report on social, general and economic sectors for year ended March 31, 2016.

The state Prisons Department did not take any action for increasing the capacity of the jails.

Over-crowding in jails could cause unhygienic conditions besides raise issues of security.

The CAG found the department had not offered education and rehabilitation opportunities to the bulk of the prison population with only 69 out of 1,116 prisoners in the test-checked jails obtaining educational qualification.

Only 50 prisoners out of 786 released being imparted skill development training in different trades during 2013-16.

In the absence of medical check-up facilities, 456 new prisoners out of 809 in test-checked jails found to be suffering from various diseases were lodged with other prisoners in the barracks.

There are 12 jails in the state under the administrative control of the Director General of Prisons. These are two central jails at Kanda near Shimla and Nahan; two district jails at Chamba and Dharamsala; and eight sub-jails at Bilaspur (including open air jail), Hamirpur, Kaithu, Kullu, Mandi, Nurpur, Solan and Una.

It said only six per cent prisoners out of 1,116 in the test-checked jails had obtained educational qualification while lodged in jail during 2013-16.

The auditor also pointed out a severe lapse in security mechanism.

None of the test-checked jails had facilities of screening, metal detection, explosive detection and mobile phone jamming to prevent entry of prohibited articles into the prisons.

Out of 21 CCTV cameras installed in Bilaspur, Dharamsala, Kanda and Mandi jails in 2009 in the test-checked jails, 10 were not working since May 2012.

This compromised the level of security in the jail, the CAG added.

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