The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Prison security step-up plan afoot

Calcutta, Sept. 12: A day after four persons were held trying tomeet “high-risk” prisoner Aftab Ansari at Presidency Jail, the government decided to overhaul the security system in all central and subdivisional jails.

Ansari was the alleged mastermind of the attack outside the American Center last year.

As part of the programme, closed circuit cameras will be installed in all six central jails, said deputy inspector-general, prisons, Anup Tripathi. The central jails are in Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri, West Midnapore and Calcutta. Altogether, 16,000 prisoners are lodged in 53 jails across the state.

The first cameras will be put up at Presidency and Alipore central jails, where most high-profile prisoners are lodged.

Tripathi said video records of the convicts’ entry to the jails and release will be maintained. “The type and character of the convict has changed over the years. So we have to upgrade our techniques,” said Tripathi. Jail superintendents have been asked to monitor outsiders who pour into the premises to see inmates everyday. “We are deploying personnel to examine them at the gate before sending them to the prisoners. Besides, our own men will be present when the interview takes place,” Tripathi said.

The jails department has introduced awards ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 500 a year for prisoners with merit. “We can give the prize to those who do well in Madhyamik, Higher Secondary, college or university examinations from jail. We can also reward someone who paints well or is a good artisan,” said jails minister Biswanath Chowdhury. He said the award can also be given to those who pass on information on other inmates.

Election officer: Information and cultural affairs secretary Basudeb Banerjee was today appointed the chief electoral officer.

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