Rajasthan has been always in the forefront of jail reforms and rehabilitation of convicts. The concept of open jail was ushered in way back in 1963. The then Governor of Rajasthan, Sampurnanad, inspired by V. Shantaram’s Hindi film Ek Do Aankhen Barah Haath began this experiment, which has become so successful that today Rajasthan has 13 open jails with more than 500 inmates and many other Indian states have followed its example.
Taking a step further towards rehabilitation of convicts, the Jaipur Central Jail on Agra Road has opened a departmental store where handicrafts and paintings made by inmates are sold to make them self-reliant and join the mainstream.
“Aashayein: The Jail Shop”, an initiative Director-General of Prisons Ajit Singh, was launched in January this year where a select group of inmates was trained to further hone their skills.
For many of the prisoners the term “rigorous imprisonment” has taken a new meaning they are rigorously trained to create artworks, rugs, bed sheets, furniture and edible products like pickles.
The proceeds from the sale of products go towards the Prisoners’ Welfare Fund for the purchase of more raw material.