KOCHI: Now, authorities at the Kakkanad District Jail here are grappling with a new problem—the rising number of undertrials in drug-related cases lodged there. And those remanded in drug peddling or drug abuse cases - majority of whom are youngsters - account for around 20 per cent of the prison’s inmates.
A major challenge facing prison officers is to prevent drug peddlers from influencing fellow inmates. “Majority of those brought here in drug-related cases are repeat offenders. They try to expand their network by influencing other prisoners. To prevent it, we currently lodge persons involved in drug cases in separate cells. This is to prevent drug peddlers from establishing links with the other inmates,” an officer said.
According to the officers, most of the troublemakers in jail are drug peddlers and addicts. Jail wardens view it as a manifestation of withdrawal symptoms. “These persons face physiological and psychological issues when they are denied drugs. They pick up fights with the other inmates. And they misbehave with wardens. They do not take part in other jail activities and work,” an officer said.
K V Jabadeeshan, District Jail Superintendent, said de-addiction programmes for prisoners involved in drug peddling case have been started at the prison. “ Excise Department has drawn up de-addiction programmes for inmates here. And officers held three classes at the Kakkanad District Jail during the last one month. Efforts are being made to prevent these persons from engaging in drug peddling again, on their release. We also try to engage them in cooking and farming activities here,” he said.
To foil attempts to smuggle in ganja inside the District Jail, prisoners are thoroughly checked before they are admitted. “There have been instances of ganja being concealed in the rectum to evade detection. CCTV cameras are mounted inside the cells to prevent undertrials using ganja. We scour the baggage and carry out frisking, including cavity search, before prisoners are admitted to the jail,” Jabadeeshan said.
20% prison inmates at Kakkanad District Jail are those who have been remanded in drug peddling or drug abuse cases
Couple held with 15 kg of ganja
Kochi: Ernakulam Rural Police on Friday arrested a couple and seized 15 kg of ganja from their motorbike at Perumbavoor. The arrested are Sabeer, 31, of Ezhalloor, Kumaramangalam, and his second wife Athira, 26, of Purappuzha. According to Perumbavoor Circle Inspector P A Faisal, the couple was under their radar for the past several weeks. “The couple used to collect ganja from Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu in bulk quantity and sell it to suppliers here. Our team was stationed at various locations from Paliakkara to Perumbavoor to monitor them. Later, they were intercepted at a place near Perumbavoor,” he said. The ganja was concealed in six packets and stacked inside a backpack. Athira accompanied Sabeer to avoid suspicion. “Sabeer who was working in a Gulf country returned to his native place last year. After marrying Athira, they were staying in a rented house in Perumbavoor. They smuggled ganja four times previously,” an officer said.