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Yummy food attracts convicts to jail

Inmates in this Bangalore prison are inspired not to commit crimes and do not mind overstaying their prison term - all for ISKCON's tasty food.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2007 11:54 IST

Inmates at a prison in Bangalore are eating so well that many are reluctant to leave while other convicted criminals are trying to move in, a daily reported on Thursday.

The Parappana Agrahara prison in Bangalore is crowded with 4,700 inmates, more than twice its capacity, because small-time criminals are refusing to apply for bail. Juvenile offenders are also overstating their age to qualify as adults to enter the facility, the newspaper added.

The reason is the healthy food served by ISKCON, or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a Hindu evangelist organisation, said the paper, whose reporters visited the facility.

ISKCON, commonly known as the Hare Krishna movement, started serving its pure-vegetarian fare in the jail on May 21 under contract from the prisons department.

Lunch and dinner typically include piping hot rice, two vegetables, sambar and buttermilk. A dessert is added on festival days and national holidays like Independence Day, and also once a week.

"When we are getting tasty, nutritious food three times a day here, why should we go out and commit crimes," said prisoner Raja Reddy, who has been arrested 20 times in 30 years for theft, robbery and burglary.

"Our going out of the prison will only benefit pawnbrokers who purchase stolen items at a throwaway price from us, advocates who fleece us to fight our case and the police who collect bribes," Reddy was quoted as saying.

First Published: Jun 21, 2007 11:39 IST