2000 prisoners to cram into 1200-men cells on first day
Three five-storey buildings have been constructed at Chittagong Central Jail to ease the congestion of prisoners to a great extent.
The new buildings having capacity of 1200 prisoners are scheduled to be inaugurated through shifting 2000 inmates from old buildings at the jail on April 5.
As of March 30, a total of 6704 inmates have been cramming into the existing buildings having accommodation capacity of only 1507 prisoners, including 37 female ones, sources in the jail said.
Construction of the new buildings started under a project titled “Chittagong Central Jail Modernisation and Expansion Project” in 2000.
The Public Works Department is scheduled to hand over the buildings to the jail authorities within a day or two, they said.
Under the project involving Tk 55.23 crore, a new 100-bed jail hospital, a female ward and cell, a godown, a work-shed, a case table-cum library, interview room and an administrative building are also scheduled to be constructed in place of the worn out existing buildings, they said.
With construction of these structures implementation of the project is scheduled to be completed by 2010, they said.
“The new buildings will help ease congestion of prisoners to a great extent since on an average over 6000 inmates stay at the existing buildings in a miserable situation in the overcrowded jail,” said Senior Jail Superintendent Mohammad Ataur Rahman.
Each of the new buildings will have as many as 20 wards -- four on each floor, he said.
He said the better accommodation will also help lessen violation of human rights to some extent. The existing century-old buildings are also posing a threat to the lives of the prisoners as they can collapse due to earthquake at any time, he added.
Meanwhile, the jail authorities have been changing the traditional 'red colour' of the building following a government directive and coated the new buildings with off-white colours.
The step for changing the red colours of the prisons and other structures aimed at creating the jails as a correctional centre instead of punishment cell, sources said.
Ataur said the British government had used the red colours in government structures like court buildings, police stations and jails perhaps as a colour indicating warning and emergency.
The existing old buildings -- two two-storey prisons, a two-storey 40-bed hospital, four tin-shed prisons for adolescent, tuberculosis patients and VIP prisoners were constructed in 1885 on 16.87 acres of land for 500 prisoners.
Three other five-storey buildings, two gallows and a two-storey building that housed 32 cells for the top-notch criminals were constructed for 1000 prisoners after turning it as Chittagong Central Jail in September 16, 1999.