LAHORE, Nov 4: The first call office for inmates and a cell phone jamming device will be installed in Gujranwala Central Jail and Rawalpindi’s Adyala Jail, respectively, during the month in order to prevent unauthorised telephonic communication of prisoners.
The use of cell phone by prisoners, in connivance with jail officials, has become a ‘norm of evasion’ in the jails of the province.
A senior jail official confided to Dawn that some 4,000 cell phones, SIMs, chargers, re-chargeable radios and transmitters had been recovered during surprise raids in various central and district jails of the province between Jan and Oct 2012.
The official said around 70 officials, including a jail superintendent, a deputy superintendent and three assistant superintendents, were penalised in this connection.
He said the installation of call offices and phone jamming devices in jails was aimed at curbing prisoners’ illegal communication outside jail.
He said a call office with capacity of 30 lines was being installed as a pilot project in the Gujrawnala Central Jail during the current month.
He said each prisoner would have 15 minutes to make calls to maximum five landline numbers twice a week.
The official said a PTCL employee and jail officials would run the facility initially.
He said the Gujranwala jail had been picked for the project because it was less crowded as compared to other prisons, adding the project would be extended to other central jails as well in the ongoing year. Similarly, the official said, a federal law-enforcement agency, with the help of a private company, was installing a jamming device on test basis in Rawalpindi Adyala Jail this month.
He said if the device proved effective over a month’s period, the company would be asked to install such devices in nine small and three large district jails during the year.
Inspector General of Prisons Mian Farooq Nazeer confirming the launch of both projects, said the step would help curb use of illegal devices in prisons. Some 25 per cent of the prisoners were involved in the activity, according to official figures, he added.
The IG said the new jamming device would cover the whole jail area as earlier two such devices installed at Kot Lakhpat Central Jail around one and a half years ago were only covering high security barracks.
He said the provincial government had already allocated Rs200 million for the both projects.