As many as 60 inmates of various prisons in the State took the Standard VIII examination on Monday. The Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai and the Coimbatore Central Prison were the two examination centres in the State.

As many as 17 candidates from Coimbatore, 12 candidates from Salem Central Prison, 30 from Palayamkottai and 1 from Borstal School in Pudukottai, took the examination at Coimbatore Central prison auditorium. The Department of School Education has deputed a panel of invigilators to oversee the examination, said S. Rajendran, Superintendent of Central Prison.

In Coimbatore Central Prison, two inmates were pursuing MBA, four were doing M.A., and eight pursuing B.A., from Bharathiar and Madras Universities, besides 12 pursuing M.A. with the Tamil Nadu Open University. About 102 prison inmates are taking non-formal basic education. In addition, nearly 100 prison inmates have enrolled for 180 hours and 240 hours of Industrial Training Courses such as weaving, carpet, security guard and computer courses.

Twenty of the women inmates have taken up courses on toy making.

Mr. Rajendran said that in a bid to reduce instances of cellular phones being smuggled into the prison, the Government has initiated a move to introduce Public Call Offices on the premises of the prisons. The work was in the final stages and after commissioning the facility at the Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai, the facility would be installed at the Coimbatore and Salem central prisons.

Public call offices at Coimbatore Central Prison will be inaugurated by May first week. Every prisoner will be allowed to make three calls each of ten minutes duration in a month. Only three numbers are allowed and they should be intimated to the prison officials in advance. The call charges will be deducted from the prisoners cash poperty account resting with the Department.

More In: Coimbatore