HYDERABAD: Prisons are considered frightening cells with shoddy living conditions. The stigma attached to the criminal justice system impacts the psychological condition of a prisoner making him more vulnerable than before to criminal tendencies. But the prisons are changing. After implementing schemes to refine and reform prisoners, the prisons department in Telangana is initiating steps to ensure that people who are released after serving their jail term, are integrated with the mainstream society.
In a bid to ensure job security for prisoners who are released after serving their jail term, the Telangana prisons department is planning to set up a placement cell in the prisons. Announcing the same, A Narasimha, inspector general, Telangana Prisons, said on Monday that the vast variety of skills prisoners develop while undergoing imprisonment, should come to the use of society after their release.
“As part of our ‘Maha Parivartan’ programme to reform and rehabilitate prisoners, we are trying to rope in industrialists, corporations and philanthropists to conduct placement drive in the prisons,” he said. The IG further requested all industries, public and private sector enterprises to come forward to employ prisoners.
At present, there are around 6,700 prisoners in Telangana, of which around 4,000-odd are undertrials. According to information, around 1 lakh people end up in prisons annually. Officials claim that as many as 20,000 of them leave the prisons as literates every year.
Prisoners are trained in a variety of skills to help them reintegrate into the society after their release. While long-term prisoners are provided with opportunities to acquire vocational skills, short term prisoners are imparted training in masonry, plumbing, electric wiring, house wiring etc. Apart from the existing petrol pumps run by the department, licenses have been obtained to open new petrol pumps and also establish gas disbursement stations.
The IG further said that the department has approached the district collectors of Rangareddy, Nalgonda and Mahbubnagar districts seeking about 500 to 1,000 acres of land to establish open-air prisons. “Our present open-air prison at Moula Ali has only 100 acres. We wish to utilise the prisoners to promote horticulture, agriculture, medicinal plantation etc, which would also help to conserve the biodiversity,” the IG observed.
He also pointed out that at least 1 lakh teak saplings are being planted expecting a return of Rs 15,000 crore after 15 years, which would make the department self-sufficient.