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Prisoners to be penalised if found using cellphones

Kolkata: The state Correctional Administration department has decided to impose fines upon the inmates if they are found using cellphones inside the prison premises.
The decision of the department comes in the wake of allegations of use of cellphones by prisoners from a number of correctional homes in the state.
"We have prepared a draft, suggesting amendment in the West Bengal Correctional Services Act 1992, with the inclusion of this aspect of fine. It has already been sent to the Law department. We hope to pass the amendment in this regard at the monsoon session of the state Assembly," said Ujjal Biswas, state Correctional Administration minister.
It has been learnt that the department has recommended imposing a fine of Rs 10,000 for those inmates, from whose possession cellphones are seized.
A senior official of the department said that cellphones presently do not figure in the list of objectionable items under the existing state act.
If cellphones are presently found in the possession of any prisoner, it is seized initially but later returned back to his/her family members.
It has been found that though checking involves two stages, one right at the prison gate by the police and the second inside the prison by their own officials, the entry of cellphones into the prison have not been curbed.
"Our surprise checks in a number of prisons have led to the recovery of cellphones from inmates, but the practice is continuing. So we have decided to take a tough stand in this regard," a senior official of the department said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had, at the administrative meeting in Hooghly on March 20, noted that a lot of criminal activities take place inside the prison there and asked police to take strong action against such incidents.
"A lot of mafia are operating from inside the prison in Hooghly. This must be taken care of. Some of them are using gadgets like cellphones, laptops, computers and cameras inside the jail and they are contacting people outside, to plan certain crimes. Such things must be kept under supervision," Banerjee had said.

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