Prisoners separated for years from their loved ones can now look forward to a five-minute respite twice a week as the West Bengal's Department of Correctional Services plans to introduce a scheme under which jail inmates will be able to make phone calls by paying Rs. 70 a month. “The service to allow prisoners to make phone calls is in operation in Bangalore, but the system developed here has especially looked into the security aspect of the scheme,” said B.D. Sharma, State Additional Director-General and Inspector General of Correctional Services.

To address security concerns, a private telecom company was approached to design the system specifically for prisons.

At the time of registering for the scheme, every prisoner has to provide three numbers that he or she intends to call. The system creates a unique account for each prisoner through which calls can be made to any of the three specified numbers.

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