The Holy Bible says, “Hear, O man; what does the Lord require of you but to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with your God?” Criminals are often judged as the unwanted part of the society. May be they have committed crimes for which they were convicted once, but government takes many corrective measures to inspire them to go out and live a respectful life after their conviction. Here we sum up few business initiatives taken by those who were punished and sent to jail once, but now are turning themselves to successful entrepreneurs.
1. Inmates Turned Fashion Designers- Tihar jail
A collection of clothes designed by women inmates of the Tihar Jail were displayed at a fashion show as part of Women’s Day celebrations. The Tihar Jail has for the past five to six months been running a fashion designing course with about 550 women inmates currently enrolled in the course. “The message that we want to give through this event is that we can manufacture quality products in the jail which can compete with any branded items in the market,” said Sunil Kumar, Chief PRO, Tihar Jail. The jail has a factory which has 1100 people employees and the turnover was 15 crore last year and this year it has been around 30 crore.
After netting a handsome revenue of 6.75 crore in nine months through food-making venture, prisons in Kerala are planning to diversify into more products like cakes, pepped and footwear with an aim of fruitfully engaging prisoners and selling these items to the common man at affordable prices. According to a top Prison Department official, the prison food business posted an impressive turnover of 6.75 crore in the first nine months of this year and is expected to touch about 10 crore by the end of March, 2013.
When Kerala Prison Department ventured into the food business, the sole model before it was the food-making unit of Tihar Jail in Delhi, which sold about of 1.5 crore chapatis and 20 lakh packets of chicken curry last year. While hotels charge 75-90 for a plate of chicken curry and 7-8 for one chapati, the jail chicken-chapati combine costs just 30. The prisoners also benefit from the initiative with cooks and helpers earning 117 as their daily wages so that they can send an average of 3500 to their families a month.
3. Convicts Take a Shine to Leather – Indore Jail
The Indore jail prisoners have a new passion. And the passion also involves fashion. With 40-50 kg of leather made accessible to them every month, the inmates are busy whipping out leather goods to be sold locally. The jail has also been planning to market the handbags and wallets Bhopal, and a national squash later. The training is imparted by the Tata International Ltd, ), engaged in the business of leather goods.
“At present, the leather products (bag, handbags and wallets) are sold locally by small retailers. This is because the quality is not up to the level of a TIL product. To help them achieve the required quality, a technical person will be sent to the jail to train one of the inmates, who will be the master trainer. He, in turn, will teach the others,” said a company spokesperson, stated Business Line.
Cakes costing below 100 and low-price rubber sandals are the next in line and the food business initiative would be extended to two more prisons soon.
4. Handicrafts in Cuff – Jagdalpur Jail
The prisoners at Jagdalpur Jail have set a very inspiring example for many who have been convicted. Inmates at Jagdalpur Central Jail make a wide range of eminent mats and bed sheets, which are in high demand in global markets. There are also around 351 convicts who make art work, handicraft and other designer materials worth 1 crore every year. “Now, they are always busy in different kinds of activities. These prisoners were being trained in handicrafts and other works so that they could start their own business after being released from the jail”, an official said, stated dailypioneer.com.
The jail has also arranged short term courses that help the prisoners to utilize their free time as well as use their labor in a positive way. The also make other products apart from bed sheets and mats like, beds, sofas, dining-tables, chairs, office tables, steel furniture, cupboards, terracotta items, swings, foot mats, table mats, pen holders and items with cloth, like towels.
5. Penitentiary “Dabbas” – Tihar Jail
The women prisoners in Tihar Jail are ready to launch their own Tiffin services, and Tihar will be the first prison to start such a business. The idea was that the inmates would prepare the meal and supply lunch to corporate houses and government offices athwart the city.
Director General (Prisons) Vimla Mehra told Newline, “We are planning to start with the women’s jail first and expand the project to the other jails according to the demand. The number of tiffins, inmates to be engaged in the project, the cuisine and menu depends on the demand. Tihar will try its best to satisfy the customers and give them excellent quality and tasty food” Once instigated the service will be an add on to Tihar’s bakery and snacks business that sells ISO-certified biscuits, nut crackers, salty mixtures and other snack items.