Officials are busy completing the works for inauguration of eight public call offices (PCO’s) at the Coimbatore Central Prison, which will enable a prisoner to make three phone calls for ten minutes duration officially. The idea of officially providing phone facility for the prisoners is also aimed at combating the menace of cellular phones being smuggled into the prison, which is a banned item as per the jail manual. Superintendent of Central Prison — Coimbatore S. Rajendran told The Hindu that eight public call offices are coming up as follows; two in remand prisoners block, three in convict prisoners block, one in high security block (which houses with the Coimbatore serial bomb blast convicts), one in the hospital and one in the annexe prison for women inmates.

Five PCOs are coming up at Salem Central Prison and six in Palayamkottai and works are on in other Central Prisons across the State at places such as Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Cuddalore, Puzhal and Vellore.

Mr. Rajendran said that setting up of the infrastructure had been completed and telephone lines are being installed now.

Every prisoner should give in writing the three numbers that they would like to call regularly and this could be that of their friends, relatives and lawyers. The numbers would be subjected to police verification for establishing genuineness.

Already 600 prisoners have given their numbers and the verification process was under way.

Every prisoner will be allowed to call up three numbers (already intimated and verified by police) for 10 minutes each on Sundays. In the event of emergency, one of the calls could be advanced and made on any working instead of Sunday. The call charge will be Rs. 10. The call charges would be recovered from the Prisoner’s Cash Property (PCP). PCP for convict prisoners include the cash brought in at the time of remand/ conviction and the wages earned by working in the employment units and for the remand prisoners, the cash brought in at the time of remand or the money could be paid by the visitors/ relatives at the prison office.

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