THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Five inmates of Poojappura Central Prison donned the cap of Radio Jockeys (RJ) and entertained fellow inmates, as ‘Freedom Symphony’ at the prison began airing programmes on Saturday. The inmates had trained themselves in the art of radio jockeying by listening to the radio channels. The internal radio station does not use sophisticated equipment nor broadcast live programmes. Rather, pre-recorded shows by the five select inmates are broadcast through the various public announcement systems on the jail premises. The inmates will be able to tune into the programmes twice a week from 6pm to 7pm.
The idea was propounded with the aim of reducing the monotony of life inside the prison. “The idea was to cut the monotonous routine and offer the inmates something to look forward to while provide information and entertainment. We have several public address systems inside the jail through which important information is announced. So we thought of allowing them to create something from their end and thereby foster creativity,” says N S Nirmalanandan Nair, jail superintendent.
The first such internal radio station was established at the Viyyur Central Jail. “I was the superintendent there at the time and have seen first-hand, how much the inmates had benefited from it. That was over five years ago and they are still running it efficiently. So we thought of implementing it here as well,” he added.
The jail staff had asked inmates interested in radio jockeying to apply. As many as 25 applied, of whom five were selected. They were then made to listen to different FM stations and pick up the styles of RJs. A dummy broadcast was held earlier when they staged a programme on Vishu day. An infotainment programme, which featured a session with a health expert on Covid and the precautions to be adopted, was also aired. Inmates can give song requests and dedications. The internal station will only air pre-recorded shows and no live programmes.
A suitable work area has been set up for the inmates to produce the content at the CCTV monitoring station at the jail. “All these are aimed at the reformation of inmates. We intend to slowly get into TV production as well, whereby the inmates will be able to produce video content. That is also part of the plan,” he says.
PLAN TO DIG 10 WELLS
The FM radio station, yearly magazine Shrishti, and the well constructed by the inmates on the campus were inaugurated by Jail DGP Rishi Raj Singh. As many as 15 inmates are involved in the building of the wells. A total of 10 wells have been planned in the prison, of which three have been completed. With the completion of two of the wells, the cafeteria and the Chapathi-making unit at the prison have become self-sufficient. “It was when the water supply got affected that we thought of digging wells, which can help us during such exigencies and also for meeting other internal requirements,” he said. In four months, two more wells will be completed. The yearly magazine features the creative works of the inmates. As many as 1,000 copies have been printed and these will be distributed to libraries and other jails.