The prison department now has started a video-calling facility for woman prisoners across Maharashtra.
Mumbai: The prison department now has started a video-calling facility for woman prisoners across Maharashtra. By availing themselves of this facility, prisoners can talk and see their family members and relatives for five minutes on a given day on mobile phone numbers registered with the department.
The entire conversation, however, will be monitored by a police constable to ensure the video chat centres only around family issues and the well-being of each other. Earlier, the department had installed coin box phones inside jails to enable inmates to speak to their family members. According to officers, this could be the first initiative of its kind for prisoners in the country.
According to officials, a prisoner can talk to her family members for five minutes and will be charged `5 for availing herself of the service. “It was initiated on a pilot basis at the Central Prison at Yerawada in Pune and now it has been started in women’s jails and open prisons across the state,” an official said.
Around 28,000 prisoners, including convicts and undertrials, are lodged in 54 jails across the state. Amo-ng them, 13 are open priso-ns and two are women’s jails, he said.
Besides, the department has set up high-tech rooms in all prisons with thick glass partitions separating inmates and visitors.
In these rooms, inmates and their family members can see each other and converse through a mike. Maharashtra has taken a lead in using video conferencing to produce undertrial prisoners in courts for hearings, the official said.
Last year, 1.11 lakh undertrials were produced before various courts via video conferencing, the official said, adding, “This year, we are expecting this number to top 1.5 lakh.”
In another initiative called Galabhet (embrace your child), children below the ages of 16 years are allowed to meet their parents lodged in jails, the official said.