'Well-behaved' life convicts — who must have served at least 12 years of their jail-term — will finally step into Tihar's semi-open jail.
The state government recently approed the prison authorities' proposal in this regard.
The admission criteria of the semi-open jail was launched around 11 months ago to offer a sliver of freedom to convicts with a good conduct record.
"It can now lodge convicts who must have served between 5 to 12 years of their jail term, apart from life convicts who have served 12 years of their jail terms," said a jail source.
The source said, "Earlier, the semi-open jail only admitted convicts who had served 75 per cent of their jail term of between five to 10 years and it had barred entry to life convicts as a rule."
Confirming this, the jail's law officer Sunil Gupta said, "The approval of the proposal is a major step for reforming the convicts and preparing them for integration with the society outside the jail walls after their release."
Nearly a year after its inauguration, the semi-open jail houses only two convicts instead of the proposed 50 because of the earlier strict admission criteria. The move to include life convicts is now expected to bring the strength to a respectable figure.
Gupta said, "We are now planning to draw a fresh list of around 200 candidates for the semi-open jail, which will include life convicts. The facility could have around 50 inmates." HT had on December 9 reported that the jail
authorities' were making efforts to include life convicts in the facility.
Convicts lodged in the semi-open jail, located in sub-jail number five, cannot step out of the prison's 400-acre complex but can move about freely inside without armed escorts shadowing him. For being considered for the facility, a convict must have utilised three furloughs and paroles and must not be charged for heinous offences such as rape, terrorism, sedition, kidnapping and narcotics smuggling.
The two current occupants — one convicted for attempt to murder and the other for cheating — leave the jail around 9am and return around 6pm after performing their daily jobs as sales representatives at a prison outlet selling commodities manufactured by the convicts.