24 inmates make the cut for open jail system in Tihar prison

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After several unsuccessful attempts to make the open-jail system viable, Tihar has set the ball rolling and selected 24 prisoners for the open-jail system this year.

Under the system, chosen inmates can work for a day outside their sub-jails, but within the 400-acre jail premises.

"We had been working on the open-jail system for a while now. But selection criteria were very strict. Last year, only two prisoners were selected. This year, certain amendments were made in the criteria and 24 persons were chosen," Director General (Prisons) Vimla Mehra said.

Now, a prisoner serving imprisonment for more than five years, but less than 12 years as opposed to the previous 10 years is eligible for open jail system.

Life-term prisoners, who have undergone 12 years of imprisonment without remission, will also be eligible, prison officials said.

This year, a host of new vocational activities were introduced to generate more employment avenues for inmates.

A blanket unit, employing 80 prisoners, has been started in Jail No. 9, an official said.

"We have already supplied 18,000 blankets to meet our in-house requirement. We have an order for 10,000 blankets from the Delhi Police. Of these, 3,000 have been manufactured and dispatched. The rest will be ready by March-end," Superintendent of Jail B R Meena told Newsline.

An artificial flower unit is also there in the same jail, employing 150 prisoners.

Another 600 inmates are employed at the Tihar jail factory, which produces food items, herbal colours and jute bags, among others. It had an annual turnover of Rs 18 crore last year and is expected to cross Rs 26 crore this year.

A smart card has also been launched to bring about transparency in monetary transactions, the official said. Every inmate gets a smart card issued in his/her name and the money earned during their prison term is credited to this card.

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