Shortage of personnel hits security at Puzhal prison

There are just 150 guards on duty

September 27, 2015 12:00 am | Updated November 16, 2021 04:12 pm IST - CHENNAI:

Many staffers are engaged in desk jobs and in other routine chores, while very few keep a watch on the inmates.— File Photo

Many staffers are engaged in desk jobs and in other routine chores, while very few keep a watch on the inmates.— File Photo

The violence that erupted on the premises of Puzhal Central Prison on Friday, the first since it was built in 2006, was a fallout of an acute shortage of staff in the complex which houses close to 2,500 inmates, among other issues.

At any given time, there are just 150 staff members a day – with only 40 on duty during the night shift, sources in the Department of Prisons said. Of them, many are engaged in desk jobs and in other routine chores, leaving a miniscule number of personnel to keep a watch on the inmates.

The sources said that the high security block is separated from the other compounds where other inmates are accommodated. “Otherwise, it would have resulted in a much larger riot,” they added.

Senior police officers said the need of the hour is to post two battalions of Tamil Nadu Special Police to step up security in the complex. “The government should consider recruiting policemen for the prisons. We are giving TSP security for Tihar jail. Priority should be for prisons in Tamil Nadu too. We need manpower for frisking and other surveillance activities,” said an officer.

Besides, he said that CCTV cameras and cell phone jammers should be installed on the jail premises.

Policemen’s wives protest

Furious over the attack on the warders, the family members of prison staff staged a protest near Puzhal prison demanding that security for the personnel be stepped up. The police pacified them and they dispersed only after officers assured them that the necessary measures will be taken to ensure their safety.

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