Con­victs have stand­ing job of­fer on their re­lease from prison

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY -

Pro­fes­sion­als from Ter­gus Works Pvt Ltd (the hold­ing com­pany for the In­mate brand) fur­ther whit­tled down the list.

“It was im­por­tant for us that the fi­nal prod­uct was of high qual­ity and could be shipped in­ter­na­tion­ally in fu­ture. We wanted to se­lect con­victs who be­lieved they had a shot at re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and would do the job long term. Some had pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in mak­ing footwear and they were given pri­or­ity,” said Divej Me­hta, founder of In­mate.

Raw ma­te­rial and su­per­vi­sors came from Ter­gus, while work­ers, ma­chin­ery and a place to func­tion were pro­vided by the prison.

Ini­tially, the con­victs only made leather up­pers which were ex­ported by Ter­gus to other footwear brands. After six months of train­ing, pro­duc­tion for In­mate started as the com­pany was con­fi­dent that the qual­ity of footwear was on par with other top brands. Cur­rently, 1,200 pairs are avail­able for sale on the In­mate web­site. Divej Me­hta

Ter­gus is also do­ing the mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tion on so­cial me­dia.

“Our strength has in­creased to 60 work­ers across castes and com­mu­ni­ties and these are aged be­tween 18 and 65 years. Train­ers are al­ways present at the Yer­wada work­shop as fresh batches of con­victs en­rol from time to time,” said Me­hta.

A pair of In­mate footwear costs Rs 2,500 up­wards. The com­pany pays the prison Rs 200 per worker per day. Ac­cord­ing to prison rules, con­victs can be paid only Rs 55 a day for skilled labour. So the rest of the money goes to­wards wel­fare of pris­on­ers.

“Ear­lier, con­victs at Yer­wada prison used to make shoes and uni­forms for per­son­nel from the po­lice depart­ment. But three years ago, or­ders started re­duc­ing dras­ti­cally after the govern­ment started pay­ing a lump­sum to po­lice­men to pro­cure these. This af­fected our con­victs’ work,” said deputy in­spec­tor gen­eral (prisons) Swati Sathe.

Sathe fur­ther said that this was the first time that con­victs were en­gaged in mak­ing pre­mium seg­ment leather footwear to be re­tailed na­tion­ally.

Con­victs en­gaged in mak­ing In­mate footwear have an as­sured em­ploy­ment of­fer post-re­lease.

Ter­gus is also look­ing to set up units where con­victs can join reg­u­lar fac­tory work­ers after their re­lease, if they wish to do so.

“Go­ing ahead, the plan is to have as many fac­to­ries as prisons to step up pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity as well as truly pro­vide a sec­ond chance to con­victs,” said Me­hta.

Con­victs busy man­u­fac­tur­ing shoes in their work­shop

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