Pune : Maharashtra Prisons Replace Coin Boxes with Smart Card Phones, Pilot Project Launched in Yerwada Jail

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Pune, June 24, 2023: In a progressive move, Maharashtra prisons are adopting smart card phones to replace outdated coin boxes, enabling prison inmates to communicate with their loved ones. Yerwada Central Jail has launched a pilot project to test this innovative service, led by Additional Director General of Police and Inspector General (Prisons and Correctional Services), Amitabh Gupta. If successful, the smart card phone initiative will be implemented across all prisons in the state.

The introduction of smart card phones marks a significant advancement for inmates at Yerwada Central Jail. The inauguration ceremony was conducted by ADG Gupta, alongside Special Inspector General of Police, Dr. Jalinder Supekar, and other senior officers.

Traditionally, inmates relied on coin boxes to connect with their relatives. However, the outdated coin box system became obsolete due to the unavailability of equipment in the market and difficulties in repairs. Moreover, the closure of several facilities further hampered communication between prisoners and their families. Additionally, inmates in high-security sections, security yards, and segregated cells had to depend on coin boxes for contact, posing potential security risks within the prison. In response to these challenges, some prison superintendents proposed the use of basic mobile phones as an alternative to coin boxes. Consequently, ADG Gupta recommended the implementation of smart card phones on a trial basis at Yerwada Central Jail.

As per the approved proposal, a company based in Tamil Nadu has provided communication facilities to the jail inmates. Starting from Friday, June 23, eligible prisoners can access communication services three times a month, with each session lasting 10 minutes. This development has simplified the process of staying connected with families, relieving mental stress for inmates and contributing to enhanced prison security. Furthermore, it is expected to have a positive impact on the mental well-being of incarcerated individuals.

Following a thorough evaluation of the smart card phone facility at Yerwada jail, the initiative will be expanded to other prisons in the state. Moreover, there are plans to refine the smart card phone system and relax the eligibility criteria in the future.

Renuka Suryavanshi

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