Shimla, April 8: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) of Friday said that the prisons in Himachal Pradesh are overcrowded and also it lacks security mechanism. Notably, against the capacity of 1,732 prisoners in 12 prisons in the state, there were 2,076, 2,137 and 1,962 prisoners as on April 1, in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The CAG in its investigation found that the department had not offered education and rehabilitation opportunities to the bulk of the prison population with only 69 out of 1,116 prisoners in the test-checked prisoners obtaining educational qualification. It also found that the state Prisons Department did not take any action for increasing the capacity of the prisons.
The CAG also revealed that only 50 prisoners out of 786 released being imparted skill development training in different trades during 2013-16. However, overcrowding in jails could cause unhygienic conditions besides raise issues of security.
The CAG auditor also pointed out a severe lapse in security mechanism. Out of 21 CCTV cameras installed in Bilaspur, Dharamsala, Kanda and Mandi jails in 2009 in the test-checked jails, 10 were not working since May 2012. None of the test-checked jails had facilities of screening, metal detection, explosive detection and mobile phone jamming to prevent entry of prohibited articles into the prisons.
The CAG also further noted that in the absence of medical check-up facilities, 456 new prisoners out of 809 in test-checked prisons found to be suffering from various diseases were lodged with other prisoners in the barracks. It said only six percent prisoners out of 1,116 in the test-checked jails had obtained educational qualification while lodged in jail during 2013-16.
Notably, there are 12 prisons in the state under the administrative control of the Director General of Prisons. These are two central prisons at Kanda near Shimla and Nahan; two district prisons at Chamba and Dharamsala; and eight sub-prisons at Bilaspur (including open air jail), Hamirpur, Kaithu, Kullu, Mandi, Nurpur, Solan and Una.