Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru in his book “Prison Land” had once written
“Any reforms must be based on the idea that a prisoner is not punished but reformed and made into a good citizen. If this objective is once accepted, it would result in a complete overhauling of the prison system. “
Tihar jail is one of the biggest jail complexes in India and world. Criminals with grave charges as well as with charges such as theft are confined behind the bars of the jail. Way back in 1958, Tihar Jail was located at Delhi Gate and had the capacity to keep 1273 prisoners. But today, the jail is spread over 400 acres and has the capacity to accommodate more than 10,000 prisoners. Tihar Jail has nine prisons and one district Jail at Rohini. Not only this but officials at Tihar fully understand the importance of rehabilitation work to make prisoners and criminals better citizens, better human beings and overall better persons after their release. Working on the same lines, many rehabilitation programs, welfare activities and self-development schemes have been launched inside the Jail premises.
Placement drive is one very important program among all these initiatives. This year Tihar Jail recorded 100% placements. 37 inmates got selected by private companies and 29 have been placed in a shoe making unit at the Jail during the recruitment drive. 31 different companies such as Da Pizza hutt, Vedanta Foundation, Aziz Media, Universal Enterprises took part in the recruitment drive. Vedanta group and IDEIM Indian Pvt Ltd offered maximum number of jobs. But the highest package of Rs 35,000 has been offered by the Tajmahal Group to a prisoner Raju Parasnath. Raju did his Bachelors in social work inside the jail premises from IGNOU. He will work as assistant business development manager at Tajmahal Group of Companies. He was charged for murder and came to the jail when he was just 18 years old.
The salary of the selected candidates ranges from Rs 8,000 to Rs 35,000 per month. Experts were called to groom the candidates for the interview who were selected on the basis of their good behavior. This interview drive has provided placement to 400 inmates since 2010. In the year 2012, 142 inmates received job, which is the highest till date.
NGOs and Government make sure to provide all the necessary resources for education and training inside the Jail. Tihar Jail has Study Centers of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi and National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), Delhi. Also the Jail has computer training centers for prisoners. Apart from this, willing and eligible prisoners can enroll for six months computer courses. Many other courses such as Diploma in Creative Writing in Hindi/English, Bachelor of Arts, Certificate in Human Rights, Post Graduation Diploma in Distance Education etc are also offered to prisoners at Tihar Jail.
It is true that mind of prisoners is not at peace which led to all sorts of heinous crimes. Hence to create a peace of mind, a meditative programe ‘Vipassana’ is also organized in Tihar Jail. The first ever camp was organized in the Central Jail in 1975. This was brought to Tihar Jail by the Inspector General of India, Kiran Bedi in 1993. It had been concluded that attending 10 days camp made the prisoners less violent.
To encourage living a positive life, Tihar Jail provides Creative Art Therapy to jail inmates. Art helps in releasing pent up feeling of distress and hopelessness. Products churned out by prisoners in Tihar Jail are sold under the brand TJ’s which include items ranging from bakery, handloom & textiles, apparel to furniture, paintings and paper products. It is an effort to redirect the criminal mindset and utilize it for productive purposes. Working in the factory explains the importance of work in life and how to earn livelihood with respect.
Rehabilitation programs run by the Tihar Jail are must for every prisoner except for the one who are in high security cells. Resettling people after completing their sentence is indeed a very good initiative by the jail authorities. This completes the real purpose of the imprisonment. But companies must keep a regular check if the employees from the Tihar Jail or any other jail are treated properly or not because there are chances of discriminating them on the basis of their past. Efforts by Tihar Jail will bring out good citizens from the pool of law breaking citizens.