The Delhi Prisons Department has initiated the process of procuring electric shock batons, pepper sprays and other non-lethal weapons to be used by prison personnel to quell inmate brawls inside jails, officials said on Friday.
The announcement comes after the prison department received criticism over the killing of gangster Sunil Balyan, alias Tillu Tajpuriya, inside the high-security Tihar Jail, allegedly by members of a rival gang.
In the initial phase, the three prison complexes in the national capital will be equipped with 80 electric shock batons, 160 full-body protectors, 80 pepper sprays and 160 T-batons, according to a senior officer at Tihar Jail.
Polycarbonate lathis, polycarbonate shield and helmets have also been ordered for the safety of prison personnel against unruly inmates, officials said.
The use of non-lethal weapons was recommended in a report by officials detailing the lapses in security in Delhi prisons.
According to jail officials, the proposal for the procurement of non-lethal tools was moved 15 days ago. So far, they have procured 160 polycarbonate lathis, shields and helmets each — 10 each for every jail. Tihar Prison complex has nine jails, Rohini Prison Complex has one, and Mandoli Prison Complex has six.
Prison officials said that shock batons would be a transformative tool in maintaining law and order within correctional facilities and curbing the activities of rogue criminals. Altercations involving multiple inmates pose significant challenges, officials said, adding that batons would provide a vital means to control them without using firearms.
While concerns regarding excessive use of these tools have been raised, these non-lethal tools are widely used across the globe for their effectiveness in subduing offenders without causing fatal harm, the report on prison security lapses said.
The move aims to enhance the safety and security of prison personnel while ensuring the well-being of the inmates, it added.
Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry has instructed central jails to develop a biometric system for inmate monitoring and replace traditional physical head counts in a bid to enhance security in jails.
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