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Odisha's jail-ashram making prisoners self-sufficient


DHRUTIKAM MOHANTY AND SUBRAT DASH | Bhubaneswar, April 5, 2012 15:20
Tags : Biju Pattnaiak Muktakasa Ashrama |Surendra Kumar Pattnaik | prison-cum-ashram | |

Odisha's jail-ashram attempts prisoner reform It is rare and unusual when a jail becomes a turning point in a prisoner's life. But Biju Pattnaiak Muktakasa Ashrama at Jamujhari has proved one in life of inmates lodged there.

The said jail was established in 2003 under jail reform programme in Odisha government to provide prisoners hands on training in several fields. In 2005, the jail was converted into an Ashram.

“The inmates of the Ashram are trained in making fly ash brick, managing dairy firm, operation of dal processing unit, vegetable farming etc. Apart from this, they are also trained to produce some handloom work so that they could manage to earn some money while in jail,” said jail Superintendent Surendra Kumar Pattnaik.

According to Superintendent Pattnaik, the Ashram also has taken two new programmes for the inmates.

“Now government is planning to set up a tailoring unit and a unit for extracting essence and aromatic oil. Induction of all such activities in the ashram is aimed at making the prisoners self-sufficient,” added Pattnaik.

The unique feature of this open air jail or ashram is that the prisoners reside in dormitories instead of cells.

The Ashram has a capacity of 100 inmates. But now only 60 inmates are lodged in the Ashram.

Once a year, the inmates are also allowed to visit their homes and spend holiday with family and community.

So is the society accept criminals? Umesh Chandra Rana, an inmate nods in affirmative. “Yes why not. We have a dairy farm in the premises of ashram and everyday we visit nearby villages to sell milk produced from this farm,” said Umesh. He is serving life term in a rape and murder case.

Odisha's jail-ashram attempts prisoner reform Umesh also said that villagers behave normally with us and he never noticed any ill feelings from villagers.

The inmates in the prison-cum-ashram are not identified with the numbers as in normal jails, but by their name.

The jail superintendent also said that inmates here work in different fields and earn a daily wage of Rs 40.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017