Soon, well-behaved Tihar prisoners can go out and work
Some fresh air
The country’s largest jail, Tihar, is seeking to shed its dreaded image by introducing a semi-open programme to allow inmates to go out of its imposing gates to earn their daily living.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has approved in principle a proposal by Tihar Jail’s Director General (prisons) Neeraj Kumar’s proposal to make it semi-open in August 2011, which would allow some of its inmates to go out of their cells and find work.
The jail, which has a capacity to hold 5,200 prisoners, hosts more than twice that number and is one of the most abhorred institutions. Among its recent inmates have been the 2G scam suspects including former minister D Raja, Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi, Suresh Kalmadi of the CWG scandal fame and political gadfly Amar Singh. Earlier ‘stars’ include men responsible for assassinating Indira Gandhi, Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh and serial killer Charles Sobhraj. The jail has housed some of the most feared criminals in Delhi.
“We have received a copy of the approval order from the Delhi Government a day ago (Monday). This will enable a convict to step out of the prison walls and work outside the jail to earn wages. The whole process will begin within next two months,” said Kumar while addressing the annual press conference at sub-jail number 2.
The carefully-crafted plan excludes from the programme those spending time in the prison for serious crimes or have violated rules. “Only convicts sentenced for more than five years but less than 10 , and whose remaining sentence is less than two years, will be selected.
However, among them, those who have maintained good conduct, executed their allotted labour satisfactorily and did nothing adverse during their furloughs will be preferred,” said Kumar.
Inmates who have availed three paroles and find themselves in no unfavourable circumstances during their time out will be considered for the restricted free time outside.
However, convicts with pending court cases or involved in prison violence such as assault, outbreak and riots are excluded from the initiative.
Those spending time in the prison for rape, terror, sedition, and smuggling are similarly out of contention. A committee lead by the Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) RN Sharma will select the convicts for the programme.
“Under the proposed scheme the convicts can work for the Public Works Department (PWD), horticulture and contract based projects inside the jail complex,” Sharma said.
“They can also be employed at Tihar outlets for selling TJ products. The wages are paid on the basis of actual work done according to the prescribed task. Seventy percent of the wages will be given to the prisoner and the rest to the victims or their legal heirs.”