Two children,aged three and four are among those residing in the womens barracks at Model Jail,Burail. The mothers of both are serving sentences,having been convicted of murder of their husbands. The two hope for a better life for their children away from the confines of the jail.
Meena,one of the convicts has a four-year-old daughter. A resident of Bapu Dham,she has two other children who at present stay at Snehalaya,a home for street children and orphans. She says,I only hope that my daughter studies and becomes a responsible citizen.
Mohini,23,has a three-year-old son. She says the two children keep each other company and are taken care of by all the inmates.
In order to ensure that the children get basic education and also experience a change in environment,they are sent to a creche outside the jail premises. At the creche,the two get to interact with other children of their age group. A jail official said initially there was some opposition,but eventually it was accepted that the children of the prisoners and of the staff should go to the same creche. The children return to the barracks at 4 pm where they are given lessons by an inmate.
Earlier there were around 40 women inmates in the barracks but the number has now reduced to around 25. In fact,earlier,there was not much space to accommodate all of them. An instructor teachs the children skills such as stitching,embroidery and knitting.
A television set has also been installed in the barracks on popular demands. The women get their daily dose of soaps as well as songs while mail inmates tune in to the sports channels. Sometimes news channels and religious channels are also shown.
The Administration is now in the process of constructing new barracks for women prisoners. As is mandated by the courts,entrance of the barracks would be kept separate from other barracks. The new barracks would have the capacity of 100 inmates. Gymnasium facility would also be provided.