This article demonstrates that illegal prison cell phones are a problem around the world, with most prison authorities turning to cell phone jammers to block the signals of contraband prison cell phones smuggled into penal institutions.
The authorities at Peshawar, Pakistan central jail will soon install jammers to sever cellphone link of hardened criminals and militants with their accomplices outside the facility.
“Criminals stay in touch with their accomplices from inside the prisons and issue them directives for illegal activities,” official sources told Dawn and said that more security arrangements were needed at Peshawar prison, where many hardened criminals and militants had been kept.
They said that jammers would also be installed phase-wise at other jails to trace and check the flow of drugs and other forbidden items into the prisons.
Located close to government offices and courts, Peshawar central jail has the capacity to accommodate about 800 inmates, but these days over 2,000 under trial and convicted prisoners have been kept there.
This jail is considered to be one of the most sensitive prisons of the province, as it also holds suspected militants belonging to Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM). Maulana Sufi Mohammad, head of the TNSM, is also being tried inside this jail.
“Many of the under-trial militants in the jail are a serious security threat,” the sources said.
Talking to this reporter, Noor Alam Khan, chairperson of Voice of Prisoners, said that he had seen prisoners misusing cell phones for crimes such as kidnapping for ransom and narcotics smuggling.
“Criminal networks stay in touch with each other and coordinate crimes by using cell phones,” he said.
He said that the authorities should take effective security measures and also keep a strict check on supply or sale of SIMs to the prisoners, which could not be possible without the role of some jail staff.
Mr Khan suggested that jail authorities should provide legal means of communication for the prisoners by installing public call office (PCO). He said that in the absence of any PCO many prisoners relied on cell phones to communicate with their families or `friends`.
The officials said that the government had allocated Rs10 million for acquiring security equipment like cell phone jammers, anti-riot instruments, walki-talkies and screens or metal detectors for the Peshawar jail.