Introduction of a system to send money to inmates through mobile banking by families are under the jail authorities’ plans as relatives and friends stopped visiting the prison gates due to coronavirus infection fears.
In the last week, the jail authorities opened telephone booths at all the jails so that the inmates can contact their family members.
Taka per minute is charged from select inmates, but extremists, terrorists, kidnappers and hardened criminals would not get the opportunity to call their families.
Jail officials told New Age Tuesday that many prisoners’ Cash accounts are jointly maintained by jail superintendents and jailors.
The moneys in these accounts are spent by the inmates to buy better meals from the jail canteens, cigarettes and to meet the other needs.
These accounts are now empty, said the jail authorities.
They said that no prisoner can deposit unusual amounts like Tk 50,000 to his account.
On March 28 Sylhet Central Jail’s senior superintendent Abdul Jalil in a letter requested the higher authorities to allow the families to send money to the inmates through their mobile baking to meet their expenses.
He told New Age that the authorities allowed setting up 10 telephone booths at the Sylhet Central Jail for the benefit of the inmates.
Jashore Central Jail’s senior superintendent Subrata Kumar Bala told New Age Tuesday that he had allowed an inmate’s family to send Tk 5,000 to for him through a mobile banking account.
‘I have sent a proposal to the Department of Prisons to introduce the system of sending money to the inmates’ accounts through bKash,’ deputy inspector general of Prisons for Mymensingh Division Jahangir Kabir told New Age.
He, however, said that the four prisons under his jurisdiction was not charging money from the inmates if they call their families by phone.
Senior superintendent Iqbal Kabir Chowdhury told New Age that four telephone booths had been opened at the Dhaka Central Jail for 9,500 inmates.
‘We will soon find a way so that the families can send moneys to the Prisoners’ Cash accounts rapidly with permission from the home ministry,’ additional inspector general of prisons Colonel Md. Abrar Hossain told New Age.
He also said that there should be no problem in allowing the inmates to speak to their family members over phone pending deduction of the charges from their accounts when they are recharged.
In 2018, the authorities set up telephone booths at the Tangail District Jail as a pilot under the Access to Information Program run by the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office with support from UNDP and USAID, he said.
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