Security poser at officially overcrowded jail

Only 117 guards & 150 cameras to watch over 1826 prisoners

By Kumud Jenamani in Jamshedpur
  • Published 12.09.18
BEYOND CAPACITY: Ghaghidih Central Jail in Parsudih, Jamshedpur. Picture by Animesh Sengupta

Jamshedpur: Ghaghidih Central Jail in Karandih on the outskirts of the steel city has been officially tagged overcrowded for the first time in its 12-year-old history.

Against its official capacity of 1,447 prisoners, the jail currently lodges 1,826. This equals to 26 per cent more lodgers than capacity in the jail where the number of guards continues to half of what can be officially sanctioned.

Jail superintendent Satyendra Kumar Chaudhury said when the number of prisoners lodged in a jail is more than 20 per cent of its usual capacity, it is considered overcrowded. "Currently, the central jail's capacity is 26 per cent more," he said.

Asked why this spurt, Chaudhury said, "Almost all jails in Kolhan are crowded. Prisoners from Chaibasa divisional jail, Seraikela divisional jail and Ghatshila sub-jail are constantly being brought to Ghaghidih Central Jail. This apart, prisoners whose trials are on in court here are also brought here."

He added that the number of prisoners kept changing.

But, correspondently, security guards have not been deputed in large numbers.

Right now, the central prison can appoint 212 trained guards. But currently there are only 41 trained guards and 76 more guards who are ex-servicemen, 117 in all.

In addition, there are 150 CCTV cameras on jail premises.

The jail's jammers - to block phone signals - are still effective for 2G phones, which no one uses nowadays. Earlier surprise checks in Ghaghidih jail had found prisoners in possession of 3G and 4G cellphones. Prisoners of this Karandih jail are known to run extortion rackets from inside bars.

Superintendent Chaudhury, however, claimed the jail's security aspects had been "augmented".

Ghaghidih Central Jail got a regular jailer and assistant jailer a month ago, something which it never had since it came into existence in 2006. This apart, Chaudhury said the central jail a week ago received 30 trained prison guards from the state home department.

Keeping in mind the state of overcrowded jails in Kolhan, a sub-jail with a capacity of 400 prisoners is being constructed at Chakradharpur in West Singhbhum, Chaudhury added.

In addition, another 400-capacity sub-jail was in the pipeline at Chandil in Seraikela-Kharsawan.

"Chakradharpur sub-jail will be ready by the end of next year," he added.