Artistes of 'rehabilitation homes'

Artistes of 'rehabilitation homes'

“Had you been to a police station?” is a question that manages to make a person squirm to date.

This, regardless of changes in social mentality, thanks to better knowledge about the working conditions of a police station and a jail. Most people who merely visit such places too do not wish to share their experiences, or even say they had been there, often worrying about reactions: the fact that they had been there is enough to tag a person.

Police officers, however, have a different take on the issue, today: “Let go of a dated notion, and many jails or police stations will seem more like rehabilitation homes.”

The officers at the district jail at Anakanur have implemented an experiment involving the inmates. The Shantiniketan Education and Rural Development Trust and Newlife Ministries In India Trust, two self-help groups, have joined hands to train the inmates. A 10-day free training camp this month had inmates learning how to produce various decorative items.

“Many inmates are excellent, talented artistes, writers and painters. They have painted the walls with sayings and drawn pictures of yogasanas. Their entire day is used involving in such creative activities,” S Lakshminarayanappa, superintendent of the district jail, told Deccan Herald.

“Inmates from agricultural families have turned the premises greener. We grow fruits and vegetables often used for everyday food. There is even an aquarium, where the inmates rear ornamental fish. Officers from the Fisheries Department nearby too have visited us to take fish.

“We have television in the jail so that the inmates keep track of the happenings in the outside world. They have access to the library, with books and newspapers. Games like chess and carrom are also permitted,” he said.

 “The district jail has 131 inmates, most of whom are undertrials. Many of these inmates will return home on bail in a week’s time or maybe after a month in the jail. Those who have been put on rigorous imprisonment will be shifted to the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail in Bangalore. But as long as they are here, we wish them to engage themselves in fruitful labour.”

The police in the jail have even tried to change the attitude of the inmates, in order to help them become better citizens and parts of society and also get employment opportunities. The criminal mindset is attempted to being converted into a positive frame of mind, to bring to the fore their humanitarian qualities and tolerance.

“It is necessary to and treat the inmates in jails as any other human beings, because, very often, their crimes are accidental, the outcome of a moment of indiscretion, or at most committed succumbing to extreme mental pressure. If we only treat them with a little humanity and dignity, so changes can be brought about in their behaviour and self-respect. After all, a mind that would have been blood-thirsty at a point will also prefer peace,” Lakshminarayanappa insists.

S Lakshminarayanappa, who has brought in novel ventures in the working of the district jail, which was opened on 2nd November 2011, was awarded the President’s Medal this year.

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