S. Vijay Kumar

Aim is to help them learn, work and contribute to the family

The HRD model was part of a welfare initiative

CHENNAI: The Prison Department is developing a Human Resources Development (HRD) model to make optimum utilisation of the manpower (inmates). On an average 15,000 prisoners are lodged in nine central prisons, three special prisons for women and other jails across Tamil Nadu. The innovative model is to create an environment where every prisoner will have an option to learn, work and contribute to the family. According to Director General of Prisons R. Natraj, the HRD model was part of a welfare initiative that would protect the interests of inmates till their release. “The idea is to identify and promote the individual talent of prisoners. The scope of prison industry will be widened to create more job avenues. After a fresher course that will include counselling and personality development, inmates will be trained in their choice of industry,” he told The Hindu on Thursday.

Marketable products

More of the job-oriented courses and marketable products would be introduced in prisons by coordinating with NGOs. “The quality of products will be refined keeping in view the industry standards. For this purpose, we want to create a proper training module and rope in the best of trainers to ensure quality. To begin with, a full-fledged bakery unit is coming up in the Puzhal central prison in Chennai,” he said.

Mr. Natraj said besides conventional products mainly marketed for local consumption, it was planned to introduce export-oriented goods so that the prisoners could earn more. “At the time of release, the inmates would have earned considerably and they need not be a liability to the family. Also, about 20 per cent earnings of the prisoners will be given to the family affected by him/her.”

Transitional block

In a related development, the Department has planned to construct ‘Transitional Block’ in all central prisons to accommodate inmates serving their last leg of sentence period.

Mr. Natraj said prisoners would be moved to ‘Transitional Blocks’ months ahead of their release. “They would be allowed to go on leave for a couple to days to meet family and friends. The objective is to make their release imminent so that reunion with the community will be smooth.”

The open air prison in Coimbatore and farm jail in Salem would also be used as transitional camps. “Open air prisons are coming up in Sivaganga, Thanjavur and Cuddalore,” Mr. Natraj added.