Given that an average of three cell phones are collected each day in state prisons, an internal prison security audit conducted by the state prison department found that the installation of the 4-G cell phone jammer and body scanners might not be of much help in suppressing harassment.
In addition to the estimated high cost and the frequent escalation of human interventions, authorities have also expressed concerns about the health of individuals and prisoners.
Police Director General Sinha said that even after investing heavily in complex technology, it was not a permanent solution. It costs around 1.25 crore and disrupts cell phone signals within a 30-meter radius, he said.
He said the assessment process was conducted after the higher courts in Punjab and Haryana ordered jammers installed in all prisons last year.
“As a pilot proposal to reduce the cost of human disruptors, we have identified 24 high priority areas in 14 prisons in which serious criminals are held. It is estimated that after spending 22 million rupees, we will only cover 10% of these prisons, leaving a large gray area, ”Sinha said.
Once approved by the secretary of the central cabinet (security) secretariat, it takes about nine months to purchase and install the jammer.
“As we explore cell phone jammer, technology upgrades accelerate 5-G. In this case, it will make these jammers unnecessary. Our assessment shows that the interference will affect people within two miles of the prison. However, mobile phone service providers are considering improving the signal for users living near prisons. In this case, we might have to spend more time indefinitely on the upgrade, which is a never-ending process. ”
The National Prison Service recovered 1,086 cell phones from various prisons in 2019. According to relevant officials, in January and February of this year, authorities only seized 580 cell phones.
“We recently launched a system where prisoners can use 10 different phone numbers to call for 10 minutes a day. We are designing more effective methods to monitor unauthorized use of cell phones in prisons,” the official said. .
The ADGP said that ensuring that the installation of the wave jammer does not lead to adverse effects on the health of prison staff is indeed a concern.
Sinha said the full body scanner costs around ₹ 3 crore and cannot detect the phone or anything hidden in the body cavity.
“Full body x-ray scanners are very effective at detecting any other object hidden in the phone, rectum or other body cavities. But there are no legal penalties in the country for the use of such. scanners in prisons, ”he added.