Government of West Bengal opened its second Open Correctional Home in Durgapur yesterday (January 14). The new facility was inaugurated by the state minister for Correctional Administration Department Haider Aziz Safwi.
The state plans two more such facilities – one in Asansol and another in North Bengal districts – as the state presently have 2600 convicts serving life imprisonment. Union home ministry in July 2012 has sent directives to its state counterpart to take initiative in setting up more open correctional homes in the state. The directive asked the state government to build more open-air jails so that people living in them can make out a living and more convicts can be brought to the mainstream. Bengal has been lagging behind other states in the number of open-air correctional homes.
Mr. Haider Aziz Safwi speaking at the inaugural function in Durgapur said: “The aim of our correction procedure is to reinstate a convict in the mainstream of the society after release from the Correctional Home. And to maximize the feasibility of getting a job to help support their families with dignity.”
So far there was only one open correctional home in the state. The first and only correctional Home is in Lalgola, Murshidabad where 100 prisoners have been accommodated was set up in 1987. Fifteen prisoners are living there with their families. But, Lalgola being an agricultural area cannot generate adequate job opportunities for the prisoners.
The minister while talking to the media persons said: “We have plans to shift 35 lifers to Durgapur – as the city has a number of industries where job opportunities are more. Initially 19 prisoners have already been shifted.”
Rabindra Sangeet by Montu Mahato, a jail inmate, marked the opening of the Durgapur open correctional home. Latar a solo flute performance by another jail inmate Gopal Murmu charmed everyone.
The Durgapur open correctional home has been made to accommodate a maximum 35 convicts. Durgapur has been chosen mainly for urban convicts.