The City Task Force (CTF) of Visakhapatnam recently arrested an eight member inter-state gang consisting of four members even from Bihar, headed by D Raju from Narsipatnam and Karanam Ravindra Babu, an ex-serviceman from Srikakulam for being involved in ganja and narcotics smuggling. They recovered four semi-automatic country-made pistols and 50 rounds of .32 calibre and 8 magazine clips. In the first week of March, Yendeti Ganga alias Kumari, her husband, Kosaraju Narasimha Rao alias Shiva, and two other members of the gang were arrested for being involved in 40 major property offences. The similarity in both situations lies in the prison – Vizag Central Jail.
The leading members of both the gangs met in Central Jail, forging a bond on common grounds and proceeded to form a gang once out of jail. ACP of CTF I Chittibabu reportedly stated that 80% of the gangs have their roots in jails. Prison is where these accused prisoners, especially remand ones, from various backgrounds meet, forge a bond to form a prison gang, which trickles to the outside world after their release too.
He further stated that the expertise of each member becomes an added advantage, a gang always being more powerful than a lone wolf. The chances of remand prisoners mingling a forming a gang become high as they are only at prison for a short period of time – somewhere between a week to three months only. Them not being exposed fully to the reformative nature of prison is also being blamed for the formation of gangs by Superintendent of Central Prison, Visakhapatnam, Indla Srinivasa Rao.
The Central Prison is divided into two sectors with no possible contact between the two. The outer circle holds remand prisoners and the inner circle holds convicts. Overcrowding is another problem to be blamed for the same, as while the capacity for remand prisoners stands at 400, the number of prisoners on ground are 900. While the ideal sharing condition for each cell stands at three prisoners, now six to seven are accommodated in each cell, giving them more than enough opportunity to mingle, according to the Superintendent.
The staff crunch also adds to the problems as the total number of inmates at Central Prison stands at 1400, including 900 remand prisoners, and the staff strength stands at only over 120. The ideal staff ratio is 120 staff to 1000 prisoners, which means 1:10 ratio per shift. But with the total strength itself standing at 120, the numbers presented are worrying and stand at only 30 men on duty per shift.