Friday, December 2, 2022

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Jail Dept grapples to stop cellphone use

Even as the recovery of mobile phones from inmates in Punjab jail has almost doubled in three years, the Department of Jails is struggling to find ways to stop their use inside the premises.

While the existing jammers in jails are either not operational or can detect only 3G connectivity, the department does not have enough funds to install 4G jammers. Further, the department is in a quandary as 4G jammers will be rendered ineffective with the rollout of 5G phones in the market in the near future.The department is currently carrying out trials with a new system of jamming the phone network, but it is leading to complications. As most jails are located in populated areas, jammers affect mobile signals in the civilian area. Residents of these areas often complain to mobile service providers of poor connectivity.

Jails Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa says a trial of jammers is on in some jails but there is opposition from the civilian population. Further, in some jails, jammers do not cover the entire premises and are ineffective in barracks located far-off.

“We have increased manual vigil in jails, besides better frisking of inmates. This has led to an increase in recovery of mobiles,” says Randhawa.

In 2017, the jail staff had recovered around 1,400 mobile phones, while last year, 2,700 phones were seized. “These phones are handed over to the police for further investigation,” says a jail official.

“The department has been trying to find an effective solution, but due to multiple complications, a foolproof method is yet to be found,” adds the minister.Sangrur: A mobile phone was recovered from the Sangrur jail recently. “On the complaint of jail authorities, a case has been registered against unidentified persons who left the phone near jail “ahata”. We have started further investigations,” said Pritpal Singh, SHO, Sangrur city-1 police station. 

  • Department is carrying out trials with a new system of jamming the phone network, but it is leading to complications
  • As most jails are located in populated areas, jammers affect mobile signals in the civilian area, leading to complaints
  • Further, if the department installs 4G jammers, these will be rendered ineffective with rollout of 5G phones
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