Behind Bars, You Get Sushi

Jails are like a parallel universe. The rich and the powerful manage to pay their way through layers of corruption to buy privile­ges for themselves. Those who cannot afford it struggle to survive till they find their way out of the legal labyrinth. For them, the process itself becomes the punishment.

The goings-on inside prisons came back into sharp focus with Karnataka IPS officer D. Roopa’s report on Ban­galore Central Prison highlighting the comforts enjoyed by its high-profile inmate V.K. Sasikala. The officer—subsequently transferred to a traffic post-ing even as an inquiry into her report has begun—pointed out to rumours that Rs 2 crore had changed hands for special treatment for the powerful Tamil Nadu politician. The 60-year-old AIADMK leader even had a kitchen for her exclusive use, Roopa said.

The report also red-flagged other issues. These included information that another convict Abdul Karim Telgi, serving term for the fake stamp paper racket, had a few undertrials serving him in his cell. Besides, there was rampant use of cannabis in the jail, as the administration failed to check the flow of drugs.

Much of this doesn’t really come as a surprise to those dealing with the country’s criminal justice system. Outlook spoke to experts, lawyers, former jail administrators and even those who have served time inside prison to piece tog­ether how it is possible to get just about anything in jail. For a price, of course. As per information put together from various sources, an inmate can lead a comfortable life inside the jail at a monthly expense of about Rs five lakh. Read More