HYDERABAD: Prisons in India are said to be overcrowded hell holes with hundreds of inmates fighting for space in a crammed cell. Ex-convicts recall the terrific life inside the dark and gloomy corridors of prisons. But times have changed. Prisons are now considered correction centres which try to psychologically refine the convicts.
Come to the new block of Chanchalguda prison. The well-ventilated barracks, the tiled floors and the modern bathrooms would make a visitor wonder where he is.
The new premises, adjoining the existing one, takes its entrance from the imposing gateway of the old prison. Fortified with two huge walls, as many as six new enclosures stand tall inflicting a sense of anguish among the visitors, for we have heard many stories of physical and psychological torture. But the new prison has the ambience of a hostel. The most significant among the cells are ‘Swastik Cells’, meant for high security prisoners involved in terror and anti-national activities.
Each wing here has four cells where the common corridors have better visibility and security standards. A mini-window on each door would enable a guard to check inside the cell whereas an iron gate inside the cell would separate the prisoner from the main iron gate- providing a three-tier security inside each wing.
Quite in contrast, a two-storeyed structure awaits the VIP prisoners in the nearby enclosure. With individual rooms that have attached bathroom with European styled commode, showers, hand shower and two cupboards, a VIP would have everything to feel at home. An indoor shuttle badminton court too awaits the high profile prisoners.
Nearby the VIP enclosure of the new block of Chanchalguda prison, that has a capacity to accommodate 30 prisoners, is a separate enclosure for those who come to prison under the Preventive Detention Act with three huge halls with a maximum capacity of 70.
Here too, halls are well ventilated and have modern bathroom facilities. Separate isolation rooms are provided to tackle troublemakers.
Further, another separate building with similar halls is set up for hardcore habitual criminals. Here, the maximum capacity is 80. An enclosure has been provided for general prisoners. Other infrastructure includes a staff dining hall and a modern kitchen facility. All the buildings are separated with walls that opens to a common pathway that is separated from the outer world by an imposing wall.