With LED TVs, U.P. prisoners can escape from boredom

State govt. purchasing sets for all jails to aid in ‘reformation’

The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to bring some ‘entertainment’ to prison cells in the State.

Jail inmates will soon be able to watch ‘informative and useful’ programmes on LED screens right in their barracks.

As part of the plan, around 900 LED television sets will be installed across jails. The Prisons Department wants to provide one LED screen to each barrack. A budget of ₹3.5 crore has been allocated for this, Chandra Prakash, Additional Director-General (Prisons), said on Sunday.

The purchase would be completed over the next couple of weeks. “We are in the process of procurement. We will supply the sets to all the jails,” Mr. Prakash said.

“Jails are also reform centres. Of course, when they are inside jails, inmates need entertainment. But that is not the sole objective. We want to push programmes for their reformation,” he said.

A retired IPS officer and social activist, S.R. Darapuri, welcomed the move and said television would help prisoners cope with the “drudgery” of life in isolation.

“They should improve the quality of libraries in jails,” he said.

Uttar Pradesh faces an acute shortage of staff in overcrowded prisons — about 9,000 warders are needed, but the State has 4,000. Also, it has twice the number of inmates over the sanctioned strength in its 70 jails.

As on July 31, there were 1,02,580 inmates, and jails record a high number of “unnatural deaths.”

As per the 2015 NCRB report on jails, UP recorded 21 “unnatural deaths” in jails in the year, the highest in the country. Nine of them were cases of suicide.

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