Indore’s open jail allows prisoners to live with their kin

Going against the stereotypes of a normal prison


September 15, 2018

/ By / New Delhi

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At an open prison in Indore district of Madhya Pradesh (central Indian state), there is a two-room house, where a convicted prisoner lives with his family and can step outside the prison’s premises for work.

Many times, people commit serious crimes in the heat of the moment. So, they are not as hardened a criminal as some of their prison inmates might be. As a solution to this problem and to provide social restoration of such people, Indore’s Devi Ahilyabai Open Colony, which is near the district jail, is giving a chance to few prisoners of the district jail to live with their family members and go out for work.

This initiative is new and unique, and goes against the stereotypes of a normal prison – which is a dark and concrete cell with limited space and choice over food and company. However, this opportunity is not for all. Life-term convicts who display a good behaviour over the years, get a chance to experience, if nothing else, open spaces.

Ordinarily those prisoners, who have one or two years left of their prison sentence, get selected for open jails. As a safety measure, the guards of the prison keep a full record of inmates’ activities and of all the visitors during a day.

However, this is not the only open jail in the country. In fact, this open jail was built after the success of two other open jails – in Hoshangabad and the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. At present, ten married prisoners have been given independent apartments. One of these ten prisoners – Bhupendra Singh, who was convicted for twelve years in a murder case, wishes to open a kiosk in the city where he wants to sell tea and snacks.

Long sentences are meant to help prisoners reflect upon their crimes and sometimes prisoners are remorseful enough to drive them to start a new life. Thus, instead of just punishing them, these jails are also giving them a chance to start afresh.

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