Pune: Smart Card Phones Replace Coin Boxes In Maharashtra Prisons, Pilot Project Launched At Yerwada Central Jail

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Mubarak Ansari

Pune, 23rd June 2023: Prison inmates in Maharashtra will now have the ability to communicate with their relatives through smart card phones, replacing the outdated coin box system. The Yerwada Central Jail has launched a pilot program to test this innovative service, spearheaded by Additional Director General of Police and Inspector General (Prisons and Correctional Services), Amitabh Gupta. If successful, the smart card phone initiative will be implemented throughout the entire state.

The introduction of smart card phones on a pilot basis is a significant development for the inmates at Yerwada Central Jail. The inauguration of this facility was carried out by ADG Gupta, accompanied by Special Inspector General of Police, Dr. Jalinder Supekar, and other senior officers.

Traditionally, inmates had access to coin boxes to communicate with their relatives. However, due to the unavailability of coin boxes in the market and their lack of repairability, this system had become obsolete. Moreover, the closure of various facilities hindered communication between prisoners and their families. In addition, inmates in high-security sections, security yards, and segregated cells had to rely on coin boxes to contact their relatives, posing potential security risks within the prison. In response to these challenges, some prison superintendents proposed the use of basic mobile phones instead of coin boxes. As a result, ADG Gupta recommended the implementation of the smart card phone facility on a trial basis at Yerwada Central Jail.

Under the approved proposal, a company based in Tamil Nadu, has provided communication facilities to the jail inmates. Starting from Friday (23rd June), eligible prisoners can avail communication services three times a month, with each session lasting 10 minutes. This development has made it easier for prisoners to stay in touch with their families. The ability to communicate with relatives and lawyers will not only alleviate the mental stress experienced by inmates but also contribute to enhanced prison security. Moreover, it is expected to positively impact the mental well-being of the incarcerated individuals.

Following a review of the smart card phone facility at Yerwada jail, the initiative will be expanded to other jails in the state. Furthermore, future plans include refining the smart card phone system and relaxing the eligibility criteria.


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