The Department of Prisons has taken another initiative to transform prisons from mere detention facilities for convicts to correctional facilities that will rehabilitate them. The prisoners will receive mobile phone facilities to keep in touch with their near and dear ones under a government project named “Prison Link.”
Tangail District Jail will offer the facility as a pilot project. Necessary preparations for launching the project, such as software development and server installation, have already been completed.
The system is currently being checked for errors and technical glitches. The mobile phone service will be launched at the jail, as soon as an inauguration date is fixed jointly by the Inspector General of Prison and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Depending on the success of this pilot project, similar facilities will be launched in Dhaka Central Jail and other prisons throughout the country.
Revealing details of the pilot project on Wednesday, Tangail District Jail Superintendent Mohammad Manzoor Hossain said: “Under the a2i program of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Prison Link project was launched during the seventh phase of Service Innovation Fund this year.
“The project will be inaugurated as soon as the IG (prisons) and the Home Ministry sets a date.”
He added: “We have completed software development with support from the A2I program and server installation has also been completed. We are now testing it for technical issues. No prisoner has used this system so far.”
How will the Prison Link system work?
Each convict will be able to provide two phone numbers to the prison authority. A prisoner will be able to make limited-duration calls to the provided numbers twice a month.
Adding that the facility will help curb illegal use of cell phones inside prisons, Manzoor said: “The convicts can only provide us with phone numbers belonging to their close relatives, such as parents, spouses, or children.
“We will not allow them to call anyone else. The duration of the call has not yet been decided. But it could be five to ten minutes. This matter will be decided by the ministry.”
The prison authority will call or send an SMS to a relative of a convict who wants to call the person in a specific time of the day.
The correspondent has learned that the prisoners will use booths inside the prison to make calls. However, the convicts will not be able to dial just any phone number, or receive phone calls from outside the prison.
Specific software will be used to restrict incoming and outgoing calls.
The jail superintendent added: “The prisoner will not be able to make calls longer than the specified duration. The call will be recorded, and officials concerned will hear the conversation live.
“Four call booths have initially been installed in a room at the Tangail District Jail. The number of booths will be increased in the future. Currently, there is one booth for 300 to 400 prisoners here.”
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Prisons (headquarters), Bazlur Rashid has also confirmed that the implementation and trial procedures at the new facility have been completed, and the service is awaiting inauguration.
Authorities have made it clear that only regular convicts will be able to avail the service, while top militants and terrorists will be denied use of this calling facility.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune