Among the nine jails in Tihar, the country’s largest prison, jail number 7 is different.
One, it is for ‘adolescent prisoners only ‘– aged between 18 and 21; secondly, this is the first and the only men’s jail headed by a woman superintendent.
Officer Anju Mangla is heading the prison for the past 6 months. Mangla’s mission is to connect with the young prisoners and ensure that their time in jail does not affect their future.
“This is a big responsibility given by my superiors. Because the inmates in jail number 7 are young. It is important that we talk to them and ensure they do not feel lost in life. Some of them were here because of adverse circumstances. I talk to them every day hoping that when they are released, they go out as better human beings,” said Mangla.
Mangla says she has been stressing the importance of education and she ensures that even in prison the young prisoners pursue their education. “If there is anyone who was studying then we try and help provide him all the resources to continue his education. Also, my officers are in touch with all prisoners. We want to develop a healthy bond and ensure there is effective communication between prisoners and jail employees. We are also encouraging all these youths to take part in all extra curricular activities so that they have a wholesome personality development.”
Recently, the inmates of jail 7 performed a play with the inmates holding a moot parliament. “We helped them understand how the Parliament functions and how democracy works. They were shy but prepared well for their roles and done wonderfully well,” said Mangla.
An officer of the 2007 batch, Mangla was heading the women’s prison in jail 6. In jail 7,she is in charge of around 900 prisoners.