Convicts can work, earn, spend time with family, says city court | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Convicts can work, earn, spend time with family, says city court

delhi Updated: Jun 11, 2011 23:37 IST

Convicted for a crime? That's not the end of the world for you. You can still go to office like others, work 10am to 5pm, earn, spend time with your family, get annual leave and come back to jail to serve your sentence!

The idea may sound Utopian but then a Delhi court has asked the government to consider such a model prisoner reformative system to de-congest jails and adopt a lenient view towards convicts who do not exhibit violent tendency.

The court said such a system was in fact working successfully at Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh, which could be adopted in a modified manner by the Delhi government.

"I am hopeful that the issue (of open jails) being high on the government agenda, the available options would be considered by NCT of Delhi at the earliest so as to enable the courts to explore alternatives of suspended/ deferred/ limited imprisonment/ incarceration and of imprisonment in open prisons/ correctional institutions in appropriate cases," additional sessions judge Kamini Lau said in a judgement.

The court passed the judgement while pronouncing its sentence in the case of four youth convicted for inflicting injuries on their neighbours at Uttam Nagar area here in 2006.

The judge referred to the "open prison" at Bilaspur, set up in 1960, where even murder convicts are permitted to re-integrate with the society by permitting them to work in offices, set up business or carry out other occupation.

"I am informed that there are 32 open prisons existing all over the country, the oldest being at Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh which was set up in 1960.

The rules of open prison at Bilaspur permit prisoners to integrate in society, work outside but return to jail after dusk. As per existing records, not one inmate has ever escaped or gone back to crime," the judge said.

"The Bilaspur open jail, which presently, I am informed as per available record, houses 78 inmates convicted for murder, has a facility to re-integrate the inmates with society and most of these inmates work 9am to 5pm wherever they find work in the town while some inmates work in private firms and others are running shops," the court said.

The judge said that despite the liberty given to them, none of them has resorted to any offending/ violative behaviour or had a second innings in the world of crime.

"This is a jail which gives enough freedom, reposes faith in the inmates and trusts them. It has an objective of prison reforms and has successfully been able to re-integrate the inmates into society.

"The prisoners leave the jail compound at 7.15am and reach back by 6pm and in case if someone is caught up in work and other sundry issues, the facility of extra time is allowed up till 8pm and even beyond. The inmates are granted leave on Sundays and 42 days' annual leave to be with the family," the court said.