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March 22, 2018

Telangana prison department came up with first of its kind plan to develop skills of other state’s prisoners

Telangana prisons department has come up with first of its kind offer to rent out its jails to other states to lodge their convicts from the next year. The department proposed to charge a monthly rent of Rs 10,000 per person that includes food, accommodation, security, mulakhat (meeting family members or visitors) and also skill development training. Currently, accommodation is available for 800 prisoners.

However, the prisons will lodge convicts in non-grievous and non-serious offences but not under trials and hardcore criminals. Once the Telangana prisons department’s proposal gets the state government nod; Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh which have overcrowded jails, are expected to be its potential client.

State prisons department chief, Inspector General, VK Singh said, “We hope to start the programme from next year, if the government gives us the required permission.”

Singh said jails in Telangana have a good number of vacancies because of special initiatives taken up by the department. Mahaparivarthan, Vidyadaan and Unnati are some such initiatives which helped in changing the mindset of those convicted in small offences.

“For the last years, we do not see repeat offenders. Once they are released, they are giving up their criminal minds and are joining the mainstream because of our initiatives,” Singh added.

Telangana has a sanctioned capacity to lodge 6,848 prisoners in all its jails. However, currently there are 6063 prisoners.

“I hope the number will further come down by 500 or so by end of this year. We are now looking at stabilizing the number around 5,000 – 5,500,” he explained. Singh said he is sending a proposal to the state Home Ministry seeking permission to rent out the jails.

Presently, Norway is the only country that is shutting down its jails or leasing them out to other countries to lodge their prisoners.

Under the Mahaparivarthan initiative, the jails department imparts skill training to the convicts and helps in engaging the convicts in earning activity right from the jails. It is also running 14 petrol bunks in Hyderabad and other places and has set a target to open 50 more petrol bunks by the end of this year. Lands have been identified to set up new bunks.

If the full capacity of 800 prisoners is utilized by other states, the Telangana jails department would earn revenue of Rs 25 crore per year. “This amount would contribute to making our jails self-reliant,” he claimed.

“Rs 10,000 monthly charge is reasonable. We spend Rs 55 per head on food each day. The accommodation and other services would include in this,” Singh said.

Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.

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