Women inmates of Tihar to be moved to semi-open jail. That means one-room flats
Select women in the country’s most populated prison will soon make a transition from tiny cells, crowded barracks and watchful eyes of armed jail guards to one-room flats where movement is free and chores can be managed without constant vigilance. Delhi’s Tihar Jail will start its first semi-open jail for women prisoners within the next 10 days.
The erstwhile government quarters of theTamil Nadu State Police (TSP) women officers have been renovated into the women’s semi-open jail. The TSP is one of the police forces deployed inside the prison for security.
Convicted women prisoners, who have been jailed for at least 12 years and have displayed ‘good conduct’, will be eligible for transfer to the semi-open jail. Six women prisoners, who are serving life sentences, will be shifted to the semi-open prison as part of the first batch. Jail officials said they have received the requisite clearance from the state government and the lieutenant governor.
A jail spokesperson confirmed the new jail will start within the next 10 days.
There are around 566 women prisoners lodged across all jails in Tihar, of whom 125 have been convicted. The rest are on trial.
Prison officers said the inmates will help run the new jail. One of the inmates has been tasked with running the kitchen, while another has been given the job of housekeeping.
“For now, the six women will sleep in a dormitory. They will be free to move within the prison complex. There will be one guard outside the semi-open jail building. Only prisoners with a good track record, who have not violated any rule during their stay, will be transferred there. After two years, the prisoners will be eligible for a transfer to an open jail,” a senior jail officer said.
In an open jail, prisoners are allowed to step outside the premises and work during the day. In 2013, the jail administration had opened its first semi-open jail, but it was restricted to male prisoners. So far, there has been no such facility for women.
“One reason we could not start the facility for women was the fewer number of women convicts. The number of male prisoners is 14,000, while there are only 566 women prisoners. Within the next two years, we will have to start an open jail for these women. The idea behind semi-open jails is to gradually integrate prisoners back into society before their release,”the officer said, adding that Delhi is the third state after Rajasthan and Maharashtra to start a semi-open jail for women.