A fish tank, first-of-its kind in the prisons, constructed on the prison campus

In an initiative to reform and rehabilitate the inmates of the Madurai Central Prison, a ‘Prison Bazaar,’ was dedicated to the public here on Monday.

The Bazaar, like any other department store, would sell sweets, vegetables, novelties, consumables among other home needs.

While vegetables are grown inside the prison campus by the convicts, sweets and other commodities like envelopes are made by prisoners, who were imparted training by experts.

Speaking to reporters on the occasion, DIG (Prisons) V.H. Mohamed Haneefa and Superintendent R. Arivudhainambe said that the State government had initiated the ‘novel’ project with the idea of enabling the prisoners to join the mainstream, when they walk out of the prison after serving their term.

“The vegetables such as brinjal and tomato are grown by the prisoners on the prison campus. The prices are not only affordable, but also less when compared to those in the private markets. The government’s idea is not to make profit, but to protect the welfare of inmates, especially, when they are released,” the officers explained.

Responding to queries, Mr.Haneefa said that the Prison Bazaar would be jointly run by some of the inmates and the prison staff. Inmates with a good conduct are selected for the task.

A six-foot-deep fish tank, measuring 2,100 square feet, has been constructed on the rear side of the prison campus.

A first-of-its kind in the prisons, the tank can breed and grow different types of fish. Marking the beginning, the officers let out thousands of fish hatchlings into the tank. Soon, live fish would be available for sale to consumers through the Prison Bazaar, Mr.Haneefa said, and added that a philanthropist in Madurai had volunteered to train inmates on breeding fish.

The Prison Bazaar in Palayamkottai Central Prison, which was dedicated to the public on February 1, has been reporting a daily sale of around Rs.4,000, he said, and added that the Bazaar in Madurai Prison would be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Sundays.

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