Jail Tourism Could be the An­swer

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

Crime rates fall­ing so rapidly as to ac­tu­ally de­pop­u­late jails sounds im­pos­si­ble in In­dia, and prob­a­bly in most other parts of the world too. So, Nether­lands’ achieve­ment in this re­gard — with only 35 pris­on­ers serv­ing life sen­tences — is par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive. It is also en­vi­able that it is now left with the cu­ri­ous task of try­ing to fill up its pris­ons, al­beit not in the man­ner usu­ally re­sorted to by other coun­tries. There are in­stances of pen­i­ten­tiaries be­ing turned into ho­tels, mu­se­ums — like the Cel­lu­lar Jail in the An­damans and Al­ca­traz in San Fran­cisco — and even ex­pe­ri­en­tial cen­tres such as the one in Te­lan­gana’s Medak dis­trict that of­fers one-day stays. But as Nether­lands ap­pears to have a glut of empty cells on of­fer thanks to a sur­feit of jails con­structed in the 1990s, posit­ing them as B&B tourist at­trac­tions would not be vi­able. No won­der Nether­lands is al­ready do­ing jail tourism of a dif­fer­ent kind, by in­car­cer­at­ing con­victs sent over by the au­thor­i­ties from Bel­gium and Nor­way al­ready, if only to ward off job cuts in the sec­tor. Some high-pro­file In­dian con­victs may also be more in­clined to spend their terms in salu­bri­ous Euro­pean jails rather than the ill-main­tained ones here. Nether­lands may not be able — or will­ing — to of­fer this fa­cil­ity for denizens so far away, but In­dia could al­ways make dis­creet in­quiries.

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