THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Poojapura Central Prison in Thiruvananthapuram has always set an example for other jails in the state with its wide range of rehabilitation initiatives.
Making and selling chapati with tasty side dishes through its cafeteria-cum-takeaway counter ‘Food for Freedom’, engaging prisoners in organic vegetable farming, beauty parlour and manufacturing fashionable apparel, have been the main activities so far at the prison. Now, the correctional home has come up with a new venture named ‘Freedom Walk’ that manufactures and sells daily-use slippers.
"Last year, we started a leather unit in the jail at a cost of Rs 3 lakh and trained inmates in crafting casual footwear. Last year when it was launched, we made and sold more than 100 shoes. This year, the sale was affected due to the pandemic outbreak," said Ratheesh RC, assistant superintendent Grade 1 of Poojapura Central Prison.
The increasing COVID-19 cases among the inmates have also affected the sales of other prison initiatives. "Since the machinery is rusting, we thought of manufacturing the slippers using prisoners who are back after quarantine," said Ratheesh. The slippers, priced at Rs 80 and available in sizes 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, will be sold at the counter behind the cafeteria.
The prison authorities said that before the lockdown, there was a huge demand for food items sold through the cafeteria since most hotels were closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. But, after the inmates got infected, they suffered a loss of Rs 1 lakh. Apart from the cafeteria, the beauty parlour and petrol pumps functioning under the department have also resumed operations.
Sale of Freedom Walk slippers will begin on Saturday after a function inaugurated by Rishiraj Singh, Director-General of Prisons and Correctional Services, and Chandunath, film actor. P Ajaykumar and S Santhosh, DIG of Prisons, will also be present.
Where and how
The slippers, priced at Rs 80 and available in sizes 6,7,8,9 and 10, will be sold at the counter behind the cafeteria. Sale of freedom walk slippers will begin on Saturday.