For HP women jail in­mates, it’s time to hone skills be­hind bars

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Region - Gau­rav Bisht n gau­rav.bisht@hin­dus­tan­

in­mates lan­guish­ing in dif­fer­ent jails across Hi­machal Pradesh will now step out of their cells to earn liveli­hood.

As a re­sult of a slew of ini­tia­tives un­der­taken by the Hi­machal Pradesh prison de­part­ment, their in­mates will now be able to tai­lor clothes for chil­dren, be teach­ers and work as beau­ti­cians in beauty par­lours.

There are more than 2,400 pris­on­ers in dif­fer­ent jails of Hi­machal and 99 among them are women. There are 17 pris­ons of dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories in the state, in­clud­ing two cen­tral jails, ten dis­trict jails, one open air jail, one Borstal Jail for young of­fend­ers and three sub-jails.

For the first time, two women in­mates stepped out of Cen­tral Model Jail in Kanda to ac­quire the skills of beau­ti­cian in the state cap­i­tal. “It's a great feel­ing to step out­side prison to earn a liveli­hood. It gives me a feel­ing of pride,” says a woman in­mate work­ing in a par­lour, who does not want to named.

“I con­tacted the lo­cal par­lour owner and re­quested her to em­ploy two of our in­mates, she will­ingly agreed,” said Somesh Goyal, direc­tor gen­eral (DG) pris­ons.

“Till few years ago, the women in­mates did not have any work ex­cept kitchen gar­den­ing. We have now ex­plored new op­por­tu­ni­ties for them,” he said.

“Ow­ing to poor eco­nomic con­di­tion, the son of one woman in­mate wanted to leave his stud­ies and vol­un­teer for me­nial job. We have now em­ployed the woman with an ed­u­ca­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion,” added Goyal.

There are 15 women in­mates in Cen­tal Jail at Kanda at present. The pris­ons de­part­ment has also set up sep­a­rate assem­bly lines for women to stitch clothes. Two pris­on­ers also run a fa­mous book cafe on the his­toric ridge.

The pris­ons de­part­ment also plans to set up an in­dus­try for women in the open air jail of Bi­laspur. The male pris­on­ers of Bi­laspur jail work at dif­fer­ent busi­ness cen­tres in Bi­laspur town, while the women in­mates re­main con­fined to their cells.

Now, the pris­ons de­part­ment has mooted a pro­posal al­low­ing women to move out from their bar­racks to work.

Last year, in a bid to re­ha­bil­i­tate and em­power the in­mates, pris­ons de­part­ment had set up hand­loom units in Shimla and Na­han pris­ons.

Hi­machal jail in­mates have rolled out new de­signer muf­flers and stoles with unique de­signs for an­i­mal lovers.

Rare and en­dan­gered state bird- Western Tragopan and the

SOMESH GOYAL, direc­tor gen­eral (pris­ons)

elu­sive state an­i­mal- snow leop­ard are wo­ven by in­mates to gen­er­ate aware­ness among peo­ple to save these species fac­ing ex­tinc­tion.

The muf­flers are weaved by 30 odd in­mates at Na­han, Kanda and Dharamshala.

The state prison de­part­ment is run­ning ‘Har Haath Ko Kaam’ pro­gramme for trans­form­ing the lives of pris­on­ers lodged at the dif­fer­ent jails.

Till few years back, the women in­mates did not have any work ex­cept kitchen gar­den­ing, now we have new op­por­tu­ni­ties for them.

Women in­mates en­gaged in sewing work at Kanda Jail in Shimla on Fri­day.

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