HYDERABAD: The Telangana Prisons department is mulling interest-free education loans to the children of prisoners. Prisoners, sentenced to more than five years of imprisonment, will be eligible to avail of the scheme. According to the department, the loan amount would be advanced from the Prisoners’ Development Fund and would be deducted from the inmate’s earnings.
Further, the department is also considering Rs one lakh life insurance cover for the prisoners. However, family members of inmates, who commit suicide in prison, will not be eligible to claim the insurance. This, the prison authorities believe, will discourage suicidal tendencies among the prisoners.
“We know that families of convicts suffer and their children fail to go to school. Our ultimate aim is transformation of prisoners and it is possible only by creating a positive atmosphere,” said VK Singh, director general (prisons), Telangana.
At present, only about 20 per cent of the inmates have found employment in the jails industry. “The biggest challenge for me is to create jobs for them so as to keep them engaged,” Singh added.
In the wake of prisoner deaths in jails, the department has made it mandatory to conduct a master health check-up for convicts and undertrials who stay for more than seven days in jail. The prisoners, who are terminally ill, will be helped to get bail so that they could spend time with family. A number of prisoners, the authorities said, had been helped this way.
“There are about 30-odd terminally ill prisoners. It is our wish to allow such prisoners to spend their last days with family,” Singh said.
An exclusive prisons officer is being stationed at the Prisons Headquarters to monitor the post-release affairs like rehabilitation, acceptability in society etc. The officer will explore ways and means of reformation and rehabilitation of the prisoners.
A pilot project to reform the prisoners and change their attitude is being run on an experimental basis. Compared to five-minute a week telephonic conversation that a convict is allowed to have with his/her relatives, the authorities have extended it to 10 minutes on humanitarian grounds. Similarly, orders have been issued to reduce administrative charges from 10 to 5 per cent on canteen items.