Odisha: Smart cards for inmates in jail to buy essentials | Bhubaneswar News timesofindia.indiatimes.com


BHUBANESWAR: Jail inmates in the state may no longer require cash to buy daily commodities from prison canteens and stores. They may be given smart cards to make digital transactions in jails.
“We want to do away with cash transactions in jails. We will shift to cashless transactions for the convenience of prisoners. Point of sale (POS) devices will be available in jail canteens where inmates can purchase goods by swiping their debit and credit cards,” director general of police (prisons) Satyajit Mohanty told TOI.
At present, inmates receive a small amount of cash from their family members or relatives to make necessary purchases. According to the jail manual, the inmates deposit the cash with jail authorities, who in return provide coupons or token of the same amount to prisoners. The inmates can use the coupons to buy eatables and other commodities from jail canteens. The coupons can also be used for making telephone calls in jails.
Prisons directorate apprehends that the existing practice of jail authorities keeping the cash of inmates may lead to corruption, mismanagement and misappropriation of their money. “We will facilitate opening of bank accounts of inmates, mostly convicts. Their family members will deposit money in their (inmates) accounts,” Mohanty said. Daily wages of the convicts, who are serving rigorous imprisonments, will also be credited to their accounts.
The prisons directorate also plans to streamline the meeting between inmates and their families. “We will keep a close watch on the visitors and their conversations. The meeting place should not be crowded and noisy. We will ensure that the privacy of conversation between inmates and their kin is maintained. At the same time, we will try to record their conversation through the audio-visual system so that anti-socials do not hatch crime plans from the jails,” Mohanty said.
The directorate asked jail authorities to take steps to improve basic amenities like drinking water facility, health services and hygiene in wards and toilets in prisons. A few days ago, the prisons directorate decided to start in-house radio stations in some jails. Prisoners will play the role of radio jockey (RJ) and manage the radio stations.

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