Runaway inmate forces Sassoon to consider separate prison ward

Sep 20, 2011, 08:32 IST | Kaumudi Gurjar

Hospital Prison Committee meets to discuss upgrade of security measures

Hospital Prison Committee meets to discuss upgrade of security measures

Soon, there may be a ward only for inmates at the Sassoon General Hospital. The proposal for such a prison ward came up following the escape of a Yerawada inmate from the hospital, which was the fourth such case.
Dr D G Kulkarni, superintendent of Sassoon hospital, said the four-member team of Prison Committee met yesterday to discuss the issue of runaway prisoners and measures to upgrade security. "We will soon be submitting the draft to the PWD department for creation of a separate prison ward," said Dr Kulkarni.

Escape route: The Sassoon General Hospital from where an undertrial
at the Yerawada Central Prison escaped. It was the fourth such incident
this year. File pic

He, however, declined to comment on the nature of this ward saying it was still in the nascent stage.
On the other hand, the 25-bed hospital inside the Yerawada Central Prison remains without basic facilities such as X-Ray machine, and the proposal for budgetary provision is pending with the Home Ministry for the last one year.

Sources inside central prison which houses more than 3,000 prisoners on any given day said if these facilities are upgraded there would not be need of frequent referrals to Sassoon every now and then. Sources said this gave the inmates opportunity to fake illness to get to the hospital. Jail authorities had no option but to refer them to the hospital, as they are then held guilty of negligence if the condition of prisoners exacerbates.

"The number of inmates sent to government hospital depends on the guards made available by the headquarters. Each inmate is escorted by one guard," said Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Dhanajay Raut at Yerawada jail.

A retired senior officer from Indian prisons said there were reports of guards being bribed to allow inmates to be referred to a hospital, where it is suspected they meet friends, relatives and also their partners-in-crime.
Yogesh Raut, the inmate who ran away most recently, had not complained of skin infection earlier. He was referred to the OPD section by the CMO in Yerawada after he complained of fever with chills, vomiting and stomach ache for more than three days.

Raut pretended to use the toilet and ran away even as Police Naik S S Patil waited for him on the ground floor.
Patil who was arrested for dereliction of duty was produced in the court and has been remanded in police custody for six days. "Raut had earlier complained of fever, stomach ache and vomiting, but when referred to Sassoon hospital, he also complained of itching, said S V Khatavkar, superintendent of Yerawada jail.

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