Jailhouse rock: Inmates of Hindalga prison will be able to listen to songs in their cell blocks

Inmates of the Hindalga prison in Belagavi will soon be able to listen to film songs and other entertainment programmes in their cell blocks within a few weeks.

Jail authorities are introducing frequency modulation (FM) radio facilities to all the blocks that house a total of around 880 men and 20 women prisoners.

A radio rebroadcast room will be built on the prison premises. It will broadcast songs and entertainment programmes during fixed hours. Speakers will be fixed inside cell blocks.

All this will be completed in a few weeks, said P. Krishna Kumar, Chief Superintendent of the prison.

This is being done under `Roopantara’, a rehabilitation and reformation programme for convicts. This includes psychological counselling, skill training, meditation sessions, and a general improvement in the living condition of inmates.

A similar radio reception centre is successfully running in the Bengaluru central jail.

“These steps are in line with the re-imagining of jails as centres of correctional administration. The modern theory of reformation of convicts recommends that the prisoner should be encouraged to introspect and change his behaviour. The basic provision of reformation theory is that any inmate should get humane treatment inside correctional centres. He should learn a skill that will help him live a life of dignity after his release. We are adopting a multi-pronged approach to this,” Mr. Kumar said.

Bengaluru firm Mindtree, a technology consulting company, will provide electronic equipment to install radio facilities in the jail as part of its corporate social responsibility efforts.

“We have worked with Mindtree in the past. They helped us set up a back office processing unit in the Bengaluru central jail. They also set up the radio reception centre there,” Mr. Kumar, who has served in Bengaluru in the past, said.

Mr. Kumar pointed out that the vocational skill development programme has helped hundreds of Hindalga inmates to become carpenters, bakery cooks and assistants, and tailors.

“Our inmates have stitched over 2.5 lakh cloth masks during the COVID-19 lockdown. They have also stitched uniforms for the Home Guards and students of some schools. They are paid wages for such work. Once they are released, they can easily earn some money and live independent lives,” he said.

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