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Beyond bars: Women in Himachal’s jails will step out to earn a living

As a result of Himachal Pradesh prison department’s initiatives, the inmates will now be able to tailor clothes for children, be teachers and work as beauticians in beauty parlours.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2018 13:24 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times
Himachal Pradesh,Himachal Pradesh prison department,director general
Women inmates engaged in sewing work at Kanda Jail in Shimla on Friday. (HT Photo)

Women inmates languishing in different jails across the Himachal Pradesh will now step out of their cells to earn livelihood.

As a result of slew of initiatives undertaken by the Himachal Pradesh prison department, their inmates will now be able to tailor clothes for children, be teachers and work as beauticians in beauty parlours.

There are more than 2,400 prisoners in different jails of Himachal and 99 among them are women. There are 17 prisons of different categories in the state, including two , ten district jails, one open air jail, one Borstal Jail for young offenders and three sub-jails.

For the first time, two women inmates stepped out from Central Model Jail in Kanda to acquire the skills of beautician in the state capital. “It’s a great feeling to step outside prison to earn a livelihood. It gives me a feeling of pride,” says a woman inmate working in a parlour, who does not want to quoted.

“I contacted the local woman owner of parlour and requested her to employ two of our inmates, she willingly agreed,” said Somesh Goyal, director general (DG) prisons.

“Till few years back the women inmates did not have any work except kitchen gardening, we have explored new opportunities for them,” he said.

Owing to poor economic condition, the son of one woman inmate wanted to leave his studies and volunteer for menial job. We have now employed the woman with an educational organisation, added Goyal.

There are 15 women inmates in Cental Jail at Kanda at present. The prisons department has also set-up a separate assembly lines for women to stitch clothes. Two prisoners also run a famous book cafe on the historic ridge.

The prisons department also plans to set up an industry for women in the open air jail of Bilaspur. The male prisoners of Bilaspur jail work at different business centres in Bilaspur town, while the women inmates remain confined to their cells.

Now, the prisons department has mooted a proposal allowing women to move out from their barracks to work.

Last year, in a bid to rehabilitate and empower the inmates, prisons department had set up handloom units in Shimla and Nahan prisons.

Himachal jail inmates have rolled out new designer mufflers and stoles with unique designs for animal lovers. Rare and endangered state bird- Western Tragopan and the elusive state animal- snow leopard are woven by inmates to generate awareness among people to save these species facing extinction.

The mufflers are weaved by 30 odd inmates at Nahan, Kanda and Dharamshala.

The state prison department is running ‘Har Haath Ko Kaam’ programme for transforming the lives of prisoners lodged at the different jails.

First Published: Oct 13, 2018 12:34 IST