For the first time since their conviction,11 Tihar Jail inmates roamed free outside the prison premises as part of an experimental semi-open jail system.
The semi-open jail,which started on Tuesday after approval from the Delhi government,allows selected convicts to work on horticulture,construction and Tihar Jail (TJ) products.
Jail authorities hope the semi-open jail,in which eligible convicts will spend the last two years of their sentence,will help rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society before release.
In this system,the selected inmates will live in quarters separate from where the other inmates reside and will be allowed outside access for a few hours every day, Tihar Jail Spokesperson Sunil Gupta said.
The semi-open jail inmates get to stay in unoccupied staff quarters. We have some staff quarters that have remained unused for some time now. The semi-open jail inmates will reside there and they have LPG cylinders for cooking and even an LCD TV, a senior jail official said.
He said through the day,the 11 inmates would work outside and come back to the quarters in the evening.
According to Gupta,only those prisoners who are not convicted for a heinous crime and have shown good conduct through their sentence will be considered for the semi-open jail.
At present,all 11 convicts have served at least 12 years in jail and have two more years to go. They have all been out on parole and furloughs and have always returned on time and have never been involved in any untoward incidents while serving their sentence, Gupta said.
Tihar Jail has established an open campus adjacent to the premises for the semi-open jail convicts to develop vocational skills. Every day,they can choose to work on horticulture projects,TJs products or in the Public Works Department (PWD) groups. This lasts for about six hours a day, a senior official said.
Jail authorities hope to include at least seven other convicts into the semi-open jail system soon.
For now,we tried this with 11 convicts and it is working well. Shortly,we will add another seven convicts. An open jail system is not feasible in a city like Delhi,which is why we came up with the semi-open jail concept, Gupta said.
11 convicts in open jail
An inmate not convicted for heinous crime can qualify
The inmate must have good conduct throughout the sentence
Inmates can spend last 2 years of sentence in open jail
Will help reintegrate them into society before release
Open jail inmates will stay in unused staff quarters
Will have access to cooking gas,LCD TVs