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Indian prisoners to become technocrats

04 December 2009

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A prison in south India is soon to become an ICT training hub with a full-fledged library and computer lab. The first of its kind, the Jeevika project will empower inmates by providing them training in multimedia tools, web designing and software and assigned data entry works for self-sufficiency.

Thrissur: A better way to reintegrate prisoners into society, post-jail, is perhaps inconceivable in an increasingly technology-driven world.

Image credits: P K job/ Express Buzz/ ICT centre to train over 600 prison inmates

Thrissur Collector V.K. Baby has given shape to a novel project for rehabilitation of prisoners of the Central Prison at Viyyur through Information Communication Technology (ICT). The project, ‘Jeevika’ (livelihood), envisages a permanent ICT centre to train over 600 prison inmates.

The Collector told Express that the proposed centre would be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.

“A full-fledged library and a computer lab will be provided to the inmates. To begin with, they will be trained in MS Office tools and other DTP software,” the Collector said.

Later on, more enhanced training in multimedia tools, web designing and software such as auto CAD will be considered. Inmates will be provided with computers, books, equipment, stationary. “The idea is to help them rebuild their life and integrate them into the mainstream,” Baby added.

"Master trainers will be groomed from among the prisoners themselves"

‘Jeevika’ aims to empower the inmates and instil confidence in them by building their capacities and honing their skills in ICT. During the training, they will be assigned data entry works so that they earn in the prison.

External trainers will be roped in initially, but the master trainers will be groomed from among the prisoners themselves after some time, Baby said.

There are over 650 inmates at present in the Viyyur jail. Of them, more than half have passed at least SSLC and are “educationally fit for the project”.

Jeevika is estimated to cost Rs 6 lakh. It is proposed that after the first year, the project will be fully taken over by the jail authorities.

The project proposal has been approved by the State Government and the IT Department and its inauguration has been slated for December 14. The project will be made functional within a month. The initiative is the first of its kind in India, the Collector said and hoped similar initiatives would be taken up across the State.

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