Law Minister C.Ve. Shanmugam presenting medal to the overall best woman recruit jail warder at the passing out parade held in Tiruchi on Thursday.Photo: M. Srinath

The State government has enhanced security measures in prisons by deploying a slew of advanced equipment to further strengthen the existing arrangements, Minister for Law, Courts and Prisons C.Ve. Shanmugam said on Thursday.

Security-related gadgets such as scanners, cell phone jammers and closed circuit television cameras, besides walkie-talkie sets for faster communication, had been procured at a cost of Rs. 13.94 crore and distributed to various prisons, Mr. Shanmugam said.

The Minister disclosed this while speaking at the passing out parade of Grade II Recruit Jail Warders at the sprawling parade ground adjoining the Central Prison campus here.

Alongside improving security measures, the State government had also put in place many innovative schemes in prisons aimed at rehabilitating inmates and turning them into productive citizens upon their release.

The Tamil Nadu Prison Department had come to occupy a special place in the country through implementation of such innovative schemes aimed at the welfare of prisoners, Mr. Shanmugam said.

In order to accord a further boost to the productive measures, the government had embarked on steps to improve prison industrial units and start new ones inside jails by sanctioning funds to the tune of Rs. 11.52 crore during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 fiscal.

Highlighting the other measures taken by the government, the Minister said supply of quality drinking water facility had been ensured to prisoners lodged in all Central Prisons situated in the State.

To enable prisoners speak to their families and near ones, telephone booths had been installed at nine central prisons, three special prison for women and Borstal School at Pudukottai at a cost of Rs. 2 crore. The same facility would be expanded to nine district jails and two open jails at a cost of Rs. 93 lakhs, he said adding that works were underway in this regard.

The services of counsellors were being utilised at the Central prisons to help inmates manage stress and offer necessary guidance to overcome suicidal tendencies. The State government had also increased the wages of prisoners involved in prison industrial units depending on their vocational skills.

Funds to the tune of Rs. 3.82 crore had been sanctioned to improve infrastructure facilities at the Industrial Training Institute established at the Central Prison in Tiruchi to enable prisoners learn various types of trades.

Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Ashutosh Shukla said various rehabilitation measures were being implemented in jails with a view to reforming prisoners and turning them into productive citizens.

Earlier, the Minister took the salute and inspected the ceremonial march past of the Recruit Jail Warders on the occasion.

He distributed medals to the best Recruits. A total number of 448 male Jail Warders and 34 women Jail Warders successfully passed out after completing six months training at the Training Centre here. They were imparted training in, among other skills, firing, jail manual, first aid, time management and yoga. They were also oriented to Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure.

Top officers of the Prison Department were present on the occasion.