Ram Kumar and Sukesh Ram earns R99 for eight hours.
The only difference between them and daily wage earners is that Kumar -- convicted in an attempt to murder case---and Ram -- convicted for culpable homicide---are lodged at Tihar Jail and the first two inmates admitted to its new semi-open prison (SOP).
The unique SOP, which became operational recently, allows its occupants to work outside prison walls.
Kumar and Ram work at a Tihar outlet -- located adjacent to the prision’s 400-acre campus -- that sells a range of products made by inmates under the TJ’s brand.
They are usually not escorted while on their way to their work place, but they spend the night in prision under
the vigil of jail guards just like other convict.
The SOP comprises a ward located in Tihar’s sub-jail five. Though the jail authorities have planned to accommodate around 50 convicts in the SOP, the stringent eligibility criteria for admission has meant that only two convicts have been selected so far.
To be eligible, a convict must have already served three-fourths of a 10-year- jail term, availed of three paroles or furloughs, and possess a record of good behaviour.
“By the end of 2012, 48 other eligible convicts would be admitted in the semi-open prison,” said Tihar’s Law Officer Sunil Gupta.
The SOP seeks to act as an incentive for good conduct inside the jail and a means to begin a process to reform and re-integrate convicts into the life outside on their release, said a jail source.
“Occupants of the semi—open prison can earn their wages outside as well as inside the prison walls in professions such of gardeners, artisans, workers,” said law officer Gupta.
A convict gets paid between R99 to 77 on the basis of his skill-level.