At the Belagavi legislature session in December last year, then Home Minister K J George had said that steps had been initiated to install CCTV cameras and mobile jammers inside the Mangaluru prison.
He was replying to ‘unstarred questions’ from MLCs Ivan D’Souza and Dayananda. When D’Souza visited the jail on Monday, he didn’t find those security devices in the jail, despite the prison’s notoriety for easy access to cellphones, drugs and illegal weapons.
D’Souza also discovered that as against the capacity of 204 inmates, 447 were crammed into the barracks. “A dozen undertrials were found outside their barracks and the prison staff lacked courage to send them back,” he told The Sunday Standard.
To make matters worse, the overcrowded jail is being managed by a skeletal staff. “Only 10 of 18 sanctioned warden posts had been filled,” sources said.
Following Monday’s clashes, a decade-long proposal to shift the jail to the city’s outskirts is likely to receive some attention. Of the 104 acres identified in Bantwal taluk, only 63.89 acres had been notified for the district jail.
D’Souza, who apprised Home Minister, G Parameshwara, of the lack of security in the jail, demanded the removal of senior officials who failed to upgrade security.