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Classroom training for prisoners in jails

- State aims cent per cent literacy of 24000 inmates in 55 correctional homes

Inmates in all jails of the state could soon get educated with the help of their peers.

The state government is set to introduce a programme to achieve cent per cent literacy among prisoners lodged in 55 jails of the state. Around 24,000 prisoners are lodged in these jails.

Inmates of the respective jails would be selected as teachers, who would be assigned to guide their fellow prisoners. The teachers, called swayam sevaks, would get a token remuneration for their service. Those enrolled in the literacy centres inside the jails would be eligible to appear for board examinations at government schools. They would also get certificates on completion of the courses.

The programme, titled Prerna, would be launched in January 2013. As part of it, eight literacy centres each would be set up in the central jails, six in divisional jails and two in sub-divisional jails. The programme, the first-of-its-kind in the state, would cost about Rs 50 lakh. The jail administration and the directorate of mass education would jointly conduct the programme.

A two-day training programme was organised in Patna from November 26 to make resource persons aware of the purpose of the project.

Sources said altogether 280 literacy centres would be set up to impart education to the illiterate prisoners.

Sources in the prison department told The Telegraph that a fresh list of uneducated prisoners has been sought from the superintendents of various jails. “Once we get the list, we will provide it to the education department,” a senior prison department officer said. He added that the programme was initially launched last year at a few central jails, including Beur Central Jail in Patna and Bhagalpur Central Jail. Overwhelmed by the results, the department decided to implement the scheme across all prisons of the state, he added.

The official said the literacy centres, with a capacity of about 50 prisoners each, would be provided with study material for the inmates. Efforts are on to enrich the jail library with various kinds of informative books, besides the ones required for the programme.

“The state government has earmarked sufficient funds for the plan,” the official said, adding that the programme is aimed at making the inmates self-reliant after their release from jails. Inspector-general (prisons) Anand Kishore said the jail superintendents have been asked to co-ordinate with the teams formed for the programme.


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