HYDERABAD: With the number of prisoners in state jails growing year after year, the staff of the prisons department has been overburdened with work as 38 per cent vacancies are yet to be filled up. According to the records of the department, 50 of the 106 ranks have never been filled ever since the department was set up.
Of the total number of 4,902 employee posts, 1,820 are vacant at present.
Every year, there is about 5 percent increase in the number of prisons.
About 300 staffers of the department are on deputation. The employees _ from central prisons to district sub-jails and from senior jailor to Home Guards _ are overburdened as the department is understaffed.
“Working as a jailor has become a nightmare for us because one jailor has to do five jailors’ job in the department,” said a senior jailor at the Chanchalguda Central Prison here. Some wings like health, education and security have many vacancies. In the health wing, about 75 posts are vacant including psychiatrists and pathologists which are very important for inmates as they face some psychological problem or the other.
In the education wing 25 teacher posts are vacant and no jail has proper library facility though library facility is mandatory. “Moreover, lack of staff who could be deputed as prisoner escorts has turned out to be a problem for those inmates who want an early release, either from the courts or from the hospital,” said the jailor.
In every jail, there should be one jailor for five inmates to take care of them according to the department norms. But at present , in every prison, one jailor is taking care of about 75 inmates. One official manning so many prisoners will expose him to dangers such as physical attack by prisoners,’’ he said.
The state has 143 jails of all types. Of these, seven are central prisons, 11 are district jails, 120 are sub-jails, two women’s jails, two open-air jails, and one Borstal School (children’s jail).
The number of prisoners (convicts and others) lodged there is about 14,000.
One silver lining in the dark clouds is that a fresh batch of 580 warders has been receiving training since June last year. The State Institute of Correctional Administration is providing the training at the prisons head office at Chanchalguda. When the training session will be completed in March, the staff shortage will ease to some extent, says B Sunil Kumar, additional inspectorgeneral (prisons). Meanwhile, to meet exigencies, the department has been outsourcing employees so that work in the health and educational wings is not affected, he says.