The Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to file an affidavit regarding the implementation of the suggestions by Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) to reform the jails in the state within two weeks.
Justice N K Balakrishnan issued the directive when a suo motu proceeding by the Kerala High Court regarding the special privileges to ‘VIP’ convicts enjoying in prisons came up for hearing.
The state police had submitted that the absence of good quality treatment in prison hospitals gives the opportunity to prisoners to flee from the jail premises pointing to illness. So modern facilities and the service of specialist doctors should be provided in the jail hospitals as required.
According to the affidavit, the suggestions of the ADGP (Prisons) are to be implemented immediately, but the government’s final nod is required. It had said that the implementation of body scanners at the main gates of jails will help find out illegal trafficking of contraband articles.
The state government will find a solution to the shortage of staff in the prisons, the affidavit pointed out. “The state will also consider the recommendation made by the committee that the escort for prisoners will be entrusted with the warder staff, by increasing the staff strength. Owing to the shortage of staff, there are often delays in getting timely police escort for the prisoners,” said AIG Ashok Kumar.
A video-conferencing system connecting the courts and the jails was introduced in five districts, including Ernakulam. But its functioning and usage have not reached the expected levels. If the system is fully functioning, the expenses and men required for transporting prisoners to courts from jails can be reduced. Hence, the video-conferencing system should be expedited, the state said.