Surat district will have the state’s first ‘Open Prison’ : Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi

Surat (Gujarat) [India], November 22 : State Home Minister, Harsh Sanghavi has toyed the idea of establishing Gujarat’s first ‘open jail’   in Surat district here on Monday.

Sanghavi, who was on a visit to the Central Jail in Lajpur village, near Surat on Monday, said the State Government has mulled establishing the open prison in Surat district.

Open prisons have less stringent rules than controlled prisons. Other names for open prison include minimum security prison, open-air camps, and prison without walls. Overcrowding in jails, increasing costs to maintain controlled jails, as a reward for good behaviour, to make them self-sufficient, and so on were the motivations for establishing these prisons.

In India, there are a total of 63 open prisons and Rajasthan has the maximum number of open prisons at 29. The prisons are regulated by the Prison Act 1900 and each state follows their manual and rules on prisons. Every state in India has its own prison law like Rajasthan Prisoners Rules, 1979. The concept of open prison was brought in so that the prisoners who have a good conduct and behaviour can assimilate into the society without a having fear that society would not accept them.

Also, it gives prisoners the chance to meet with their family members and be within the process of socialisation. It also reduces the overcrowding in controlled jails. Generally, it has been observed that prisoners in controlled jails are not provided with the good living conditions and are treated badly. Open prisons give them chance to live in a better condition and there is no or minimum security which reduces the chances of bad treatment and helps them to live with dignity.

The first open prison was established in Switzerland in 1891, followed by the USA in 1916. The Hague conference which was conducted in 1952 suggested the organisation of open-air camps.

Gujarat’s Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi, who was flanked by DGP and IG Prison, Dr KLN Rao and other dignitaries, inaugurated the gymnasium and e-filing centre for the inmates at the Lajpur Central Jail on Monday. He (Sanghavi) also interacted with the inmates who have become diamond polishers and cutters at the Central Jail. Sanghavi, who is hailing from the diamond merchant’s family, tried his hand on the emery wheel in presence of the workers-cum-inmates and officials.