Jails in Bihar are going hi-tech after the government announced that it will be issuing a multi-purpose smart card for more than 33,000 people in 56 jails.
Inspector General (Prisons) Anand Kishore said that Bihar would be the first state to issue such smart cards to its prisoners. These would enable them to access services ranging from buying snacks, to access information about court cases, wages and health services.
"The smart card is going to change prisoners' life inside the prisons. It will enable them to buy daily use items like soap, shaving kit... and food items like bread, tea and biscuits from the jail canteen," Kishore said.
The smart card, christened e-Prison, Bihar, could also be used as a health card for prisoners, he added.
Kishore said that information kiosks would be set up in all the jails to facilitate the users.
The prisoners will have the option to recharge their cards from their wages earned in jail.
"We hope to provide these cards to prisoners by the end of February. The prison and correctional service inspectorate will implement the smart card project," he said.
The Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation is developing the software for the project.
"The smart card will have an embedded electronic chip with identification details like photo and fingerprints of the prisoner. Biometric authentication will be required to use it, therefore, prisoners will have to be present physically," an official said.
Bihar has eight central jails, 31 district jails and 17 sub-jails with capacity to house a total of 33,119 prisoners.