With mechatronic keys, Puzhal to go hi-tech
Factfile

With mechatronic keys, Puzhal to go hi-tech

The conventional lock-and-key system with mechanical padlocks to lock all cells, gates, dormitories and quarantines is soon going to be a thing of the past as the State Prison Department is set to introduce mechatronic padlocks and electronic keys. This will also prevent keys from being stolen, duplicated or lost.

Chennai

The advanced mechatronic system will be programmed, managed and controlled by a software and will be introduced first in Puzhal Prison complex, Chennai, in a phased manner. It will later be expanded to all other prisons, prison officials said. 
All user keys and locks will be initialised in the system database with a unique encrypted ID. The electronic key can lock or unlock only if permission is granted by the controller, through an encrypted communication and authentication between the key and lock.
The new system will prevent unauthorised or indiscriminate handling of keys as it provides controlled and secured access rights to the users and will help efficient monitoring through the software management system. 
If the key is lost or stolen, nobody can use it as provisions are available to permanently disable it. Managing the keys will also become easier as a single key could open as many locks as possible depending on how it has been programmed. 
Orders have been placed for required hardwares including 420 programmable mechatronic padlocks, 12 programmable electronic keys, three interface devices for the locks and keys, three tower server systems and a software to control the system. 
All access logs will be recorded in the memory of the locks and keys and will be uploaded to the server on a regular basis. The supervisor will generate reports from the system management software for management purposes, added prison officials. The database will maintain records such as logs from locks and keys, information of prison blocks and cells and the database of guards handling the keys. 
Misuse of sedative pills at Tiruchy central prison
In an interesting development, reports have surfaced about sedative pills for inmates suffering from anxiety being allegedly snatched by their fellow inmates at Central prison, Tiruchy to be used as dope. When asked, prison officials, however, denied the charges, claiming that pills are usually distributed by Male Nursing Assistants (MNAs) who make sure patients consume their medicines. The prison houses over 1,300 inmates, including remand prisoners and convicts. Sources said that the prison hospital has a good stock of medicines. 
Around 140 inmates with anxiety are constantly being monitored by psychiatrists and experts of mental health as well. Since most spend sleepless nights, doctors prescribe alprax and diazepam that helps calm them down and distribute them always at night. 
Meanwhile, other inmates have been reportedly taking away the pills and using them as drugs during the day. Sources further said that recently, one of the inmates had  overdosed and it was a while before doctors could stabilise him. 
Interestingly, information regarding pill distribution at night has spread and now 250 inmates are receiving the pills. Among them, 110 are not patients of anxiety. Also, those getting prescribed pills allegedly sell them off to the others for a higher price.  
When asked, DIG (Prisons) Tiruchy, Shanmugasundaram, refuted the charges saying prisoners are carefully diagnosed by the doctors before pills are prescribed. “A procedure is strictly followed where pills are only to be consumed in front of the MNAs who distribute them and closely monitor these patients,” the DIG told DT Next. He also rubbished claims of pills being distributed without prescription and their sale to other inmates.

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