The Alipore Correctional Home for Women will soon open its first coffee outlet, which will be run and managed by its inmates, in the city. An outlet comprising two rooms and covering about 500 sq ft will also act as a showroom.
“Along with the showroom will be a coffee shop run by the women inmates. Talks are on with Cafe Coffee Day, but nothing has been finalised. If that doesn’t work out, we will run it as our own coffee shop,” said a senior PWD official.
While the showroom will display items like textiles, utensils, garments, showpieces and food items, there will be bread, biscuits and other confectionary items at the coffee shop. The showroom and coffee shop will be open to the public.
Asked if there was a risk of inmates escaping, the official said, “There is already a concept of open jail where prisoners leave the jail in the morning, work during the day at various places in the city and return in the evening. This would be nothing different.”
While the PWD will hand over the rooms later this month, the outlet will be functional before Durga Puja. There is already an outlet for selling products at Jessop Building in central Kolkata, which houses the offices of the correctional homes.
According to officials, inmates were given training according to their interests. “The intention is that when they leave the prison, they can earn their livelihood. If this experiment proves successful, we will set up more such outlets. One of the products which I personally find very good is the mustard oil produced here, which is devoid of any chemicals, and is made of pure mustard,” the official told The Indian Express.
DG and IG (Correctional Services) Arun Kumar Gupta, said, “Let the building be ready, we will then be in a better position to tell you the details.”