After ban on meetings, jail hooks up telephones across a glass wall


By Saad Ali

HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad Central Jail has introduced the international method of meetings which involve a glass wall and telephones to prevent direct contact between inmates and visitors.


A prisoner talks to his visitor on the newly installed telephones at Hyderabad Central Jail. The authorities introduced this facility because an increasing number of inmates were planning criminal activities across the province. PHOTO: PPI

This is easier to manage and much more secure for the staff and inmates because no illegal object can be sneaked in. Since the Sindh High Court banned private meetings between inmates and their visitors, many influential organisations have been threatening jail officials, said Hyderabad Central Jail superintendent Pir Shabbir Jan Sarhindi.

Sarhindi was speaking at the prison after distributing goods among the prisoners on Thursday. The prisons IG has introduced a programme under which all police and jail officials will distribute daily use items, such as soaps, towels, etc., among the prisoners every month.

According to Sarhindi, the prison has 28 high-profile prisoners and they are the reason why the jail staff and their families are getting death and kidnapping threats. “The jail will run according to the law even if we have to sacrifice 10 of our children,” a resolute Sarhindi said. He told Daily Express that 50 per cent of the inmates are on death row and they are causing the problems. Hyderabad has no political prisoners – the inmates are mostly dacoits, murderers and kidnappers, who were behind bars in an attempt to seek shelter from revenge on the outside.

Previously, only prisoners from Hyderabad Central Jail were planning crimes from behind bars but recently inmates from the Larkana jail have started taking part. Part of the problem is that visitors were able to smuggle in cell phones to the men, who would then orchestrate kidnappings among other crimes on the outside with the help of accomplices.

In order tackle this phenomeon, the jails have been holding search operations from time to time, but this was not the most effective strategy. On March 15, a search operation in Hyderabad turned violent and a staffer, Muhammad Yusuf Khyber, died after being hit by a brick.

Rehabilitation

All factories are working the jail, Sarhindi said. Inmates, some of who are extremely skilled, make carpets, cloth and rugs. For its part, the government has tried to help the administration. The Express Tribune was told that Rs10 million was spent on medicines and an ultrasound machine and an ECG machine was also bought. Sarhindi proudly added that, “The jail is now self sufficient to a great extent”.

Additionally, on the orders of a high court district bench, the ministry of finance has given the Hyderabad Central Jail a little over Rs10 million to repair its barracks and cells. The work is almost complete and the inmates would be shifted back to their cells by the end of July.

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