"Our website, www.hpprisons.nic.in will enable video chat with any prisoner in all six prisons of the state," Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) S.R. Mardi said. The facility was launched by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in the state capital Shimla on Friday.

Mardi said that the video conference facility, first of its kind in the country, would help family and friends save time and money on travelling to prisons to meet the inmates. Even foreigners can avail this facility.

The government has already amended the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), enabling the courts to utilize the video-conference facility between the jails and the courts. Mardi said this would also help save time and money of the prison department in escorting the prisoners from jails to courts.

"Around 2,000 policemen are daily involved in escort duty," he said.

The state has already taken many initiatives to reform the prisons. It has declared one barrack each in six jails as "open air jail" in Kanda, Nahan, Solan, Mandi, Dharamsala and Chamba towns. These jails allow prisoners to go out after serving a stipulated term and earn their livelihood.

(Agencies)

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