Prisons are no longer seen as places where criminals are kept to pay for their crimes. The Indore Central Jail is set to become a shopping destination for Indoreans from where they can buy goods produced by jail inmates. The jail administration has already taken an overview of the new proposal on Anant Chaturdashi Day (September 29) by putting some products on sale at a stall outside the jail.
Jail superintendent Gopal Tamrekar said, "Goods produced in jail are part of vocational programmes being carried out in jails for years. However, because of lack of marketing of the products produced by the inmates, sometime it is very tough to sell them at a good price."
He said that the jail administration has decided to open shop at the shed where inmates' family members gather to meet their relatives in the jail. "A large number of family members visit during week days and I am sure the shop will attract them," Tamrekar said.
The jail superintendent said the shop would be managed by prisoners under the direct supervision of jail officials. "The jail administration will deploy some of the inmates and place jail officials to sell their product. In future, we will focus on a bigger market," he said.
At present, inmates of Indore Central Jail manufacture essence sticks, cotton kurtas, cotton shirts, coats, trousers, handkerchief, salwar suits, apron, mouth mask, designer pottery and ceramic products, leather goods including ladies purse, travelling bag, mobile cover, decorative statues, et all.
"During the past few years, seven trainers and 50 convicts took two-month training at the Tata International Limited, Dewas. After that, the trained convicts trained other inmates at the prison and are now making leather products," said Tamrekar. "The jail earned Rs. 32,750 from essence sticks alone during the last financial year," he added.
Tamrekar was hopeful of competing in the market and said the products of the jail are expected to have an edge in terms of pricing and it will help in catering every segment of society even as prison authorities maintain there will be no compromise on quality. The vocational programmes have been going on at the jail for several years and their scope has increased in recent times with newer training programmes being introduced.
The Indore Central Jail, one of the oldest jails of central India, provides training to inmates in printing press/offset printing, leather goods, making steel utensils, wood carving, carpentry, screen printing, knitting, tailoring, cement pot making etc.