The State government will take up expansion of the Parappana Agrahara central prison, located on the outskirts of the city, and a final notification has been issued to acquire 20 acres adjacent to it.

Home Minister K.J. George, who chaired a high-level meeting of police officials here on Thursday, told presspersons that a committee headed by S.K. Pattanayak, Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, had been constituted to work out details such as cost and design of the expansion plan. There was no dearth of funds for the project, he said.

The Minister admitted that there were 4,200 inmates in the jail as against its capacity of 2,000.

Mr. George, who inspected the security system at the jail a few days ago, said he was shocked to see the prevailing conditions at the Parappana Agrahara prison. “First of all, there is no biometric system. Only six of the 25 CCTV cameras installed in 1996 on the premises are working.” There are no watchtowers either.

The department has decided to modernise all jails across the State and step up vigilance, Mr. George said.

Several prisoners have served more than 14 years but have not been released owing to absence of guidelines.

There was delay in the release of prisoners with good conduct.

The Governor had rejected the government’s proposal to release certain number of prisoners for want of guidelines. Guidelines would be framed soon and it would be sent to the Governor for approval. “We are planning to release prisoners with good conduct on October 2,” Mr. George said.

The Home Minister said instructions had been given to remit the fine of prisoners who were unable to pay it and get them released from Parappana Agrahara. These steps would help in bringing down the number of prisoners/undertrials at the central jail.

Jaishankar’s escape

Mr. George said a committee headed by Mr. Pattanayak has been constituted to inquire into the escape of “psycho Jaishankar” from the Parappana Agrahara and also to suggest ways to improve security at all jails.

Once the committee submitted its report, the government would take decisions on modernisation and upgradation of jails. “We will not spare anybody who helped the convict escape,” the Minister added.

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