Jammu- With as many as 999 inmates lodged in, the high-security Kot Bhalwal jail here is currently overcrowded as it is holding over 10 per cent more prisoners than its normal capacity, an official said on Saturday.
The information was given by the jail superintendent to the high court judge and executive chairman, J&K legal services authority, Justice Tashi Rabstan during an inspection of the premises, the official said.
The official said a six-member team led by Justice Ranbstan visited the Central Jail on Friday and inquired about undertrial prisoners and the number of convicts serving their sentences.
The team was informed that against a total capacity of 903 persons, currently 999 inmates are lodged in the jail. They were also intimated about the shortfall in the sanctioned strength of the staff.
“There are 579 undertrials, 353 detenues and 67 convicts in the jail. Among these, 17 are foreign nationals but no female inmate was lodged in the jail,” the official said.
Highlighting the lack of certain healthcare facilities due to a shortage of staff and equipment, the officials said the jail authorities had to shift the ailing inmates to government hospitals for dental and eye treatment.
The medical officer informed Justice Tashi that out of the four sanctioned posts, three medical officers are available round the clock, whereas, one post was lying vacant.
She also informed that an X-Ray technician is posted in the jail, whereas, no X-Ray machine was installed, the official said.
She said the dental setup was established but no dental surgeon is posted and there is no facility for eye checkups as well. So the jail inmates are referred to a dental hospital and government medical college for dental and eye treatment.
The official said Justice Rabstan inspected the barracks, dining and kitchen area, e-mulakat centre, video conferencing facility, 10 bedded hospital, vocational centres, Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) facility and mini stadium.
“All the inmates of the jail during interaction admitted that they are being served proper diet and are being represented in their respective cases by the lawyers either engaged by them or provided by Legal Services Authority,” the official said.
Justice Rabstan also visited the newly installed in-house bakery in the jail which as per the superintendent would be made operational very soon, the official said.
During a visit to the library, Justice Rabstan was introduced to the two teachers deputed by the education department who informed him that 25 jail inmates were appearing in graduation course exams through distance mode and 87 were undergoing certificate courses.
The Jail Superintendent also briefed the team about security arrangements and said the jail is equipped with surveillance cameras and there is complete restriction on mobile networks within the jail premises.
Justice Rabstan also inspected the legal aid clinic established in the jail where two Para-legal volunteers (PLVs), Darshan Lal and Gaurav Sharma, expressed gratitude to the Executive Chairman for increasing the number of working days from 10 to 20 days in a month.
Justice Rabstan recorded satisfaction regarding the facilities provided to the jail inmates and also urged the PLVs to work with dedication and ensure that the benefits of schemes launched for the welfare of jail inmates reach them, the official said.
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