Telangana job fair sees 155 released prisoners receive employment offers

by Elton Gomes

A total of 155 released prisoners have received jobs in various positions such as marketing executives and drivers, at a job fair recently conducted by the Telangana Prisons department, PTI reported.

The job fair was hosted on Saturday at the State Institute of Correctional Administration, Chanchalguda, and it was conducted by the Telangana State Prisons Department.

“The target of our programmes is to induce the sense of responsibility among our released prisoners and ensure that they do not get into committing a crime again after they are released. Our initiatives like Unnati, Vidya Danam and skill development classes have ensured that less number of prisoners return to jails in our State,” V.K. Singh, DG Prisons said, Telangana Today reported.

The idea for a job fair was proposed after ex-convicts reached out to the Prison Department for help. Speaking about the initiative, A. Narasimha, Inspector General (prisons), said, “This job fair is the first of its kind in south India.”

Narasimha then went on to say, “There is a stigma attached to ex-convicts. The moment they land in jail, a prejudice gets attached to them and they get branded for life. Friends, families and everyone look down on them and it takes a toll on their self-esteem. People refuse to give them opportunities. The stigma forces them out of society and out of compulsion, they are forced to get involved in criminal activities again,” the News Minute reported.

The Telangana state prison currently owns 15 petrol pumps wherein 100 convicts and ex-convicts have been employed as pump attendants. “We hope to increase the number of pumps to 100 spread across each district, and the district collectors are in support of the idea,” deputy jailor at Chanchalguda central jail, M. Sridhar told the News Minute.

Which companies participated in the job fair

Twelve companies, including Flipkart and HDFC, participated in the “Job Mela-2018.” The job fair saw an attendance of 230 released prisoners (both convicts and undertrial) from 31 districts. Of this, as many as 155 were got employment offers as drivers, technicians, house-keeping, electricians, marketing executives, helpers, and others, according to an official release, PTI reported.

What is Telangana doing to improve prisoners’ lives

After the state of Telangana was formed in June 2014, the state Prisons department had begun implementing various innovative schemes and programmes, such as skill development, loans for prisoners, and employment for transforming the lives of inmates.

What India can learn from Telangana’s prisons

It can be said that Telangana has been instrumental in reforming prisons, and could serve as an example that should be emulated by prison departments in other states. The Telangana State Prisons Department is considered to be one of the most progressive in India and has undoubtedly set a standard of how prisons should work.

As per a report in the Indian Express, Telangana’s prisons are giving inmates an opportunity to reform through various schemes – one of which is the Vidyadanam Scheme that aims to make them literate.

Telangana’s Director General (Prisons) V.K. Singh told news agency ANI, “Generally, the prisoners in Indian jails are illiterate. Almost 35 to 40 percent of the prisoners are illiterate. They don’t know how to sign also. When I joined, I thought it would be a great social contribution if we are able to make all these illiterate prisoners literate. So, I started a programme named Vidyadanam Scheme under which we started segregating the illiterate prisoners and educated prisoners.”

Singh said that in 2015, roughly 29,000 prisoners became literate, while 2016 saw 17,000 prisoners being able to read and write.

In addition, prisoners are given the opportunity to start their own ventures, fund the expenses of their families, and pay for themselves. The prisoners are able to do this through loans offered by the department.

“We have given loans for education of their children, for marriages, and much more,” explains A. Narasimha, IGP, Prisons, was quoted as saying by the Better India.  He hoped that through this provision, an ex-convict might not return to a life of crime.

Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius

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