Dimapur : Nagaland prisons department is running a skill development course for inmates. This initiative has given a few the opportunity to train them in cooking. A food cart, with their products is parked in front of the jail. It’s called Jail Café, which serves 25 dishes.
“The café is just a beginning. We have trained 24 inmates of Dimapur central jail, 18 jail staff, five police cooks and three home guard cooks. They will later act as trainers for similar training programmes, which we plan to expand to other jails in the state. But funds are a constraint now. If any organization comes forward to support us financially, we plan to have full-fledged restaurants manned by jail inmates in Dimapur and Kohima,” Rupin Sharma, the director-general of prisons, homeguards and civil defence, told.
Pinnacle Skills led by Nagaland-based entrepreneur Yan Murry is imparting training under this initiative. Inmates were trained in a makeshift room in the prison, and are being given daily wages from the café’s earnings as per the government’s norms.
“We’ve got a good response from customers so far. But since we can’t take up industrial training courses on a massive scale, like those in Tihar Jail, we have started small and hope to get funding support to organize similar courses in other jails gradually,” Sharma said. Currently, there are nearly 550 inmates in 11 of Nagaland’s jails.
“Prisoners are a forgotten and despised lot. They become social outcasts. Their employability on release is almost zero because of the stigma attached. They don’t want to sit idle and want to do something. We have tried to show them a direction and it seems to be working,” added Sharma.
Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.