Body scanners in prisons to stem smuggling of contraband

Ever wondered how prohibited items, including cellphones, land up in the hands of prison inmates across State, despite baggage scanners and other security systems?

Those meeting prisoners as ‘visitors’ use their body parts to hide materials to escape detection.

Making this revelation, in the Legislative Council, on Tuesday, Prisons Minister A Narayanaswamy said to curb such practices, the department would be installing body scanners in prisons.

He was replying to a call attention notice by member of opposition M C Nanaiah. Narayanaswamy said incidents of cellphone use by prisoners in Bangalore and Mysore have come down drastically with the installation of jammers. Similar facility would be extended to all central prisons in the State in phased manner. The work, costing Rs 3.94 crore, has begun in Belgaum.

He said all district prisons have been equipped with baggage scanners, hand metal detectors to curb entry of prohibited items. Prison staff were making checks, twice daily. Surprise raids are being conducted once in a fortnight. During such exercise, 150 mobile phones have been seized. Officials in the Home department have been given freedom to conduct raids if there is information about use of cellphones and other prohibited items inside prisons.

JD (S) floor leader M C Nanaiah said jammers in prison were useless as jail officials themselves were hand in glove with prisoners in supplying prohibited items. R V Venkatesh (Congress) said prisons have become government guest houses for underworld dons.

Threat calls to MLC

JD (S) MLC E Krishnappa told the Council that he has been receiving threat calls to his life from those who called themselves inmates of Hindalga jail, Belgaum.

Stating he has already lodged complaints with the Home Minister, he rued that there has been no action against those threatening him. The police have arrested 18 persons in this regard.

Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka said the Home department has initiated action against the accused and he was ready to provide more details if the House desires.

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