Tales from inside a notorious jail

The Central Prison at Hindalga in Belagavi is the only prison in the state with the facility to carry out capital punishment. It is also considered as one of the high-security prisons in the state.

The prison that was established in 1923 has a capacity to house 1,162 inmates and the number of inmates as on October 22 was 900.

Presently, the prison houses 365 convicts, 502 undertrials, 26 death sentence convicts of whom 25 are male and one female, and one male civil case prisoner.

The prison has been in news for wrong reasons such as notorious inmates making calls for extortion by managing to sneak mobile phones in through various contacts. It was found that they also had access to drugs through similar channels. It was also alleged that some of the prison staff were hand in glove with these prisoners. Recently, a death sentence convict had managed to escape and was arrested after more than a month.

Chief Superintendent of Police (Prisons) Krishna Kumar told DH that measures have been taken to ensure that such mistakes do not recur. “Prison now has sufficient staff that has helped in improving vigilance both inside and outside. Underperforming personnel have been transferred,” he added.

Inmates, both convicts and undertrials, are segregated and troublemakers have been separated. Deradicalisation camps too are being conducted, he said.

Earlier, balls stuffed with drugs were thrown inside from the old quarters located near the prison premises. Such structures that were not in use are being demolished and open space surrounding the prison walls have been kept under surveillance, Krishna Kumar said. 

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