Reviewing The Prison Management System Information Technology Essay

ICT in prisons was initiated in the year 2002 at Delhi Prisons, Tihar. The Tihar Prisons Complex in New Delhi is the biggest prison complex in Asia comprising of 9 prisons and one District Jail at Rohini with a total strength of more than 11,000 prisoners against a normal sanctioned capacity of 6250 prisoners. In a year, about 70,000 – 80,000 inmates remain lodged in these prisons for different duration and crimes committed by them. This prison population has about 80% under trials and includes about 480 women inmates. About 400 inmates are foreigners from different parts of the world. Many high security criminals also live here.

There has been a substantial increase in number of prison inmates coming to Tihar because of a phenomenal increase in the crime scene at Delhi that has resulted in the increase of the ICT needs and its management at the Tihar Jail Complex. Nearly 1700-1800 visitors meet their relative inmates’ every day. There was manual system of booking ‘mulaqats’ (meetings) in each jail for its respective inmates. Centralised visitor record was not available. There was lack of exchange of visitors’ information within jails and prison headquarters. There was no provision for identification / detection / verification of visitors. Keeping a tab on the movement of visitors / nefarious elements was difficult. There was no control either on multiple meetings with an inmate in a day / week or on number of visitors permissible to meet with each inmate. It was difficult for the jail administration to keep a record of those prisoners whose meetings were stopped by the courts by way of punishment. There was limited and unstructured recording of demographic details about the visitors. Managing the prisoner record and monitoring of prisoner / visitor was always difficult since most of the records were normally maintained manually (so the concerned authorities were required to go through all the registers to find out the details and status of the inmate as well as of the visitor).

In order to cope up with the increasing number of prisoners being lodged in, the Tihar Administration required a re-engineering and rationalisation of their key business processes and functions of prisoners’ related information and their computerisation in order to speed up the processing of information. As the technology evolution took place, there arose a need for centralisation of prisoner’s data to facilitate information exchange and data sharing as well. This re-engineering would be aimed at reducing administrative overheads, speed up responsiveness to users, reduce risks involved in inmate’s custody, eliminate obsolete processes and reap cost-cutting benefits.

1) Based on your previous internship experience(s), identify any one business process which

you have working knowledge of.

Prison Management System (PMS) is a G-2-G and G-2-C e-governance application, which encapsulates the manual working-pattern of the prison rule book i.e. registration, movement within the jail and outside and release of the inmate. It captures the inmate’s photograph and stores the same in the database after reducing it to less than 2.5 KB size. This is directly stored in the central database such that duplicate entry of the prisoner can be identified in a global manner, which helps in tracing out the ‘frequent flyers’ to the jail.

It helps to generate more than 65 reports of administrative, performance and statistical nature.

It helps in dealing with over populous prison that is housing inmates, which are more than 3 times of the sanctioned capacity.

It facilitates in monitoring the inmate movement (both inside / outside the correction home).

It also facilitates, regulates and simplifies the processes of meeting between the visitors who are coming to visit their relations and friends lodged in the correctional home.

It is helping the prison authorities in identification / verification of the inmates using fingerprint based identification tools.

Video conferencing is also held within the jail complex with courts and inmates are presented before the Honourable Justice.

Using both digital and analog cameras, security is enhanced and a central video wall has also been installed. Around 250 – 300 cameras pan, tilt and zoom round the clock and feed signals at a central location using the integrated network, over which voice, video and data move freely and continuously.

2) Using the ‘Funnel’ model diagram, briefly explain how this business process fits into the

larger scheme of things for the organization.

‘Funnel’ Model Diagram

-Global Environment

There has been a substantial increase in number of prison inmates coming to Tihar because of a phenomenal increase in the crime scene at Delhi that has resulted in the increase of the ICT needs and its management at the Tihar Jail Complex.

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It has been observed that these inmates tend to revert back to their “old habits” once they are released after the completion of their term. This can be attributed to several reasons ranging from mistreatment in the correction facility to their inability to obtain employment due to past record.

Thus the government and the jail authorities have committed themselves to providing a safe as well as secure detention. They also aim to provide reformation and rehabilitation in a manner which results in welfare opportunities for all inmates.

In the long term this should result in a reduction in the number of criminals created due to external environment and society.

-Corporate Strategies

In the last few years, the prison population has steadily grown, adding tremendous pressure to the overall capacity, basic standard of living and treatment to the prisoners remanded. Effective 24/7 security and vigilance by 1300 jail staff was a key area of concern. The jail management decided that an efficient video surveillance system was required to track, monitor and record movements in critical locations.

Management of prisoner records and monitoring of prisoner / visitor has always been difficult in Indian jails since most of the records were normally maintained manually, so the concerned authorities were required to go through all the registers to find out the details and status of the inmate as well as of the visitor. In order to cope up with the increasing number of prisoners being lodged in, the Tihar Administration required a re-engineering and rationalisation of their key business processes and functions of prisoners’ related information and their computerisation in order to speed up the processing of information need of courts and various other national agencies.

-Organizational Structure

The Tihar correction facility has a clear set of standard operating procedures. The practical benefit of this model is that the correctional system is not overly dependent upon one or two people. It can easily promote or substitute personnel.

The jail dominantly follows a bureaucratic model. This model revolves around a strict hierarchical system but it isn’t focussed on one dominant personality. Organizational control flows through the hierarchy with a strict chain of command and a formal process of communication. Rules and regulations are written and specific.

Additionally, the policy parameters stressed in this organizational structure are clear for all parties, and staff can be held accountable if they do not comply with written norms. On the negative side, for a difficult environment such as the Tihar jail, written norms do not guarantee consistent enforcement. Such norms are not helpful in every situation. Bureaucratic processes (currently) are slow to respond to change and do not encourage staff to demonstrate new initiative at any level of the organization.

-Management and Business processes

-Technological Platform

3) Explain in detail the working of this business process and what your role in it was.

NIC took up this task of automating and streamlining the process of prisoner / visitor movement

at Tihar Prisons. Following are the accomplishment in this area of prison management:

Establishment of LAN:

Establishment of LAN connecting all prisons situated in a big wide spread complex using 5,500 meters of Optical Fiber Cable (12 and 6 core) operated with one Layer – 3 switch supported by 16 Layer – 2 switches in the entire jail complex. The network has 185 IOs and can be expanded to 300 nodes without any additions / modifications / disruptions to the existing infrastructure. Surveys were got conducted and laying of OFC was found to be the best suitable option;

Development and Implementation of PMS:

Prison Management System (PMS) comprises of 12 primary functional modules. More than 65 reports of various types have been developed under Client / Server architecture. It has been developed, tested and implemented. This PMS has the following major features:

Based on Client-Server Architecture and supports latest GUI features;

Centralised Database for supporting powerful & fast retrieval of data;

Monitors physical location of inmate, their movements within and outside the jail complex, punishments, medical history of the inmate at the time of his / her arrival at the jail, cases filed against him, court hearings among other attributes;

Supports more than 65 reports as per the present needs of the various monitoring agencies like National Human Rights Commission, National Crime Records Bureau and Tihar Jail itself.

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Biometric Tools:

The PMS has been integrated with biometrics tools, which stores inmate’s biometric details at the time of entry and shall be used to authenticate at the time of their movement. The biometric based verification and authentication system is installed in all 9 jails of Tihar Prisons Complex and at District Jail, Rohini, New Delhi with facility to store prisoner photograph. Tihar Prisons was the first prison in India to use this technology for prisoner’s identification and verification along with the photograph;

Photo pass for visitors:

Visitor Management System [VMS] is implemented at Central Public Relation Office situated at Gate # 3 and at Gate # 4 of the Tihar Prisons. All visitors coming to Jail to meet their relative prisoners are first being photographed and then they are issued photo pass. Details of the visitors are being kept in the database and this information is shared with police for the investigation purpose. The meeting slip is generated within 45 seconds. The booking is using the concept of call centre. ISO Certification has been obtained for this process;


The use of videoconferencing facility in prisons has drastically reduced expenditure incurred as compared to physically producing the jail inmates in the courts. Physical production of an inmate requires transportation, escort by armed police personnel, prevention of fights between inmates and nearly 6 hours of time wasted by each inmate. Fear of custody break is always there during the physical production. There are incidents when prisoners have fled after breaking lockups in the courtroom or from the custody of armed security personnel escorting them to court or by armed attack on the police vans by daredevils.


Using analog and digital cameras, security has been enhanced in the Tihar Prison complex. Cameras have been installed at strategic locations within wards. Each and every inmate can be watched from a video wall and surveillance brief is also sent to DG (Prisons) in real time. These video graphed shots are produced in case of any disputes.

Implementation Processes

Local Area Network (LAN): It was necessary to establish network in each prison and all prisons are connected over on LAN to capture and share prisoner information. This LAN is using 5,500 meters of Optical Fiber Cable (12 and 6 core) operated with one Layer – 3 switches supported by 16 Layer – 2 switches in the entire jail complex and having 145 IOs. The network is such that it can be expanded in future without any addition to the existing infrastructure and can support Closed Circuit Television [CCTV] System.

Prison Management System (PMS): The application software Prison Management System (PMS), prison inmate information handling system, aims to facilitate modular but tightly integrated software solution for administering and managing the data related to inmates with their case details and other related activities of the inmates along with their photographs and also facilitate dissemination of information over the LAN to all the concerned officials of the correction homes.

Visitor Management System (VMS): It aims to manage meetings of the inmates with their relatives and brings transparency in the ‘Mulaqat’ (Meeting). It facilitates visitors to register their appointments / meetings with the inmates on telephone or in person at Central Public Relation Office of the Prison.

Videoconferencing: The use of videoconferencing facility in prisons is for the purpose of remand extension and trial of prisoners (eTrial) in various courts of the country. The Delhi Government for speedy trial has changed the laws. This shall rule out any escape of prisoner from police custody while movement from Prisons to Courts for Court trials and after the trial when they return back to prisons. This shall minimise the manpower of security personnel, transportation cost and production time. VC sessions can be conducted between jail-2-jail, between jail-2-court within city and jail-2-court outside city for many important inmates like Pappu Yadav, who also happened to be MP.

Use of Modern Security Gadgets: The use of modern security gadgets like Closed Circuit Television [CCTV] cameras and Biometric based Fingerprint Identification / Authentication / Verification System shall enhance the security of the Prisons and shall help prison administration in the effective management of Prisons / Prisoners. This has also been implemented at Tihar Jail. Tihar is the 1st jail in India where 258 cameras have been installed to provide digital surveillance.

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Training is a key part of any successful project. It should be tailored to the needs identified through the assessment of the work requirement, existing skills, knowledge and capacity of the employees. Training must be held for all levels and this training must be held separately for each level.

The superintendent is the head of prison who is assisted by deputy and assistant superintendents. Warders and matrons are the lowest functionaries in the jail administrative setup. Primarily they have to maintain the day-to-day administration of inmates inside the jail, to know the number of prisoners in their charge; to count them frequently during their turn of duty and to satisfy themselves that they have all inmates in their custody. They have to report about any plots for the purpose of escaping or of assault or outbreak or any plan to obtain forbidden articles in the jail complex. Smoking is not allowed in the complex.

Warders / matrons working in processes have been identified and provided with additional training developed for their specific functions. They possess good academic qualification, more disciplined and have keen interest to work on computers. Although the basic qualification for the post of warden / matron is only matriculation but a number of staff is having much higher qualification and this increase their interest in learning to use modern gadgets. One more important aspect was behind the training of warders / matrons is that they are from uniformed force and primary their responsibility being the safety and security of the prisons where more than 11000 criminals including hardcore criminals are lodged and we have to work within the security parameters. Monetary incentives were also given to them. Good work done by them was recorded in their annual confidential reports such that they get benefit in future.

The Data Entry Operators were hired from private operators and they were provided training on the visitor module of the system. They are on contract and deployed outside the prison for visitor management. They were thoroughly sensitised before hiring for the job, so that they cannot try to connive with the prisoner’s relatives in any unlawful activity.

4) Draw a Business Process Modelling Diagram (BPMD) describing it’s working.

BPMD (As-Is):

BPMD (To-Be):

Sample screenshot of the PMS software:

5) Identify any inefficiency (ies) in this business process and provide suitable justification

for the same.

General Issues / Inefficiencies in business process

During the development of application software the requirements were not clear as the user was not supportive in sharing the information and subsequently could not be frozen. To overcome this problem, prototype of each module was first developed and then shown to the user department to get their suggestions / inputs. This regular interaction with the user helps in freezing out their requirements.

There was no standard set for fingerprints scanning and matching which leads to non-interoperability of matching fingerprints. Many vendors provided fingerprint-matching solution, which was proprietary. There is no interoperability and standards in matching of fingerprints.

The fingerprint solution integrated in the application software was taken after considering the solution to be used for whom, ruggedness of the scanner, omni directional scanning feature, live finger scanning and complete user satisfaction.

Storage of photograph consumes lots of memory space. Reducing the resolution of the image and converting .bmp image to .jpeg image handled this issue. This process reduced image of size of 60k to less than 3k.

Define the ‘To-be’ state using certain metrics and (or) benchmarks.

Metrics (Primes) along which “To-be” state was designed:

For example,

7) Conclusions

It has now become essential to embrace the new technologies in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the development / modernisation / advancement of prisons. Internetworking of all the jails across the India for sharing of information related to prison inmates who had been lodged in various jails of the country should improve the law and order within the state.

Tihar Prisons has been pioneer in this area and they have shown it through their IT setup, a role model for other states and even other countries. It is likely that this may be replicated in the SAARC Region.

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