HYDERABAD: Hoping to put a check on the illegal use of mobile phones by inmates of Cherlapally prison, the Prisons department is planning to install a biometric telephone system that the inmates can use for a charge to speak to their family members and lawyers.
However, the catch is that charges are going to be a steep `5 per minute.
"Inmates can use a fiveminute call at a time.
They can call their family members twice a week or eight times in a month but not at one go," director-general of police (Prisons) Gopinath Reddy said.
The call rates would come down after the first six months, said KC Srinivasa Rao, superintendent of Cherlapally prison.
Initially, the Rs5 charge has been set to cover the cost of the biometric system, he explained.
"We will set up the facility within a week.
If the experiment is successful, we will extend it to other central prisons in state," said Gopinath Reddy.
When asked about where the prisoners will get money to make calls, the superintendent explained the inmates are not allowed to have money beyond what they earn by doing odd jobs, where their daily income ranges from `30 to `50.
"There is no currency circulation within the prison.
Inmates are given money tokens in the denominations of `5, `10 and `20.
They use the tokens at the canteen and telephone booth in the premises," said Srinivasa Rao.
Cherlapally prison would thus become the first prison in the state to allow telephone facility with biometric system.
The phone is expected to serve the needs of roughly 2,000 prisoners.
The phone numbers of the inmates's family members and relatives will be registered with the jail authorities in advance.
All calls will be monitored and the authorities hope the biometric system would prevent its illegal use by inmates.