In an effort to strengthen prison security, the Punjab government on Monday decided to deploy the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for checking and frisking at six of the 10 high-security jails in the state by the end of July 2018.

During a high level meeting on Jail security, the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed the Jails department to coordinate with the Central authorities to expedite the process of CSIF deployment at these six prisons.

An official spokesperson said that Jails department is getting two companies of CISF from the Centre and plans to deploy one platoon each in six of the state’s high-security prisons.

CISF personnel will be posted in Deori corridor between two main gates of the jail, where currently frisking is done by either jail warders or matrons or by The Punjab Ex-servicemen Corporation (PESCO) personnel. Watchtowers on outer walls will continue to be manned by Punjab Police and Punjab Home Guard persons, added the spokesperson.

The CM also ordered the Jails department to ensure efficient working of all installed Close Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) inside the jails.

He also ordered steps to make the law for seizure of mobile phones and drugs in prisons more stringent, with a provisions for the punishment for the same to run separate from the existing sentence.

The CM ordered the Director General of Police (DGP) to crack down on all such offenders and take stern action against any police or prison official founding conniving in the supply of cell phones or drugs to the inmates, added the spokesperson. Earlier, the Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Home informed the CM that out of the total 244 gangsters lodged in Punjab prisons, 86 are A-category gangsters.

Since January 2017, more than 2000 mobile phones had been confiscated from the inmates, while 389 cases had been filed against recovery of prohibited drugs from prisoners.

Taking cognisance of the death threats being issued by gangsters to police and jail officers, Amarinder Singh ordered enhancement in the security of those directly involved in dealing with hardcore criminals and gangsters, along with their family members.

He also asked the ACS Home to provide personal vehicles to all Jail superintendents across the state.

In another step to improve the prison system, the CM directed the Jails department to explore the possibility of changing the recruitment rules to make it mandatory for the newly recruited Deputy Superintendents of Police to undergo one-year stint in jails before being promoted to the Superintendent of Police rank.

The CM also directed the Finance department to make available the Rs 29 Crore needed by the department for procurement of hi-tech security apparatus for all state jails.