Shimla prison inmates work at canteens, proves to be life changer

Open air jail prisoners in Himachal Pradesh's Shimla have got a new lease of life as they have been deployed in six mobile vans to fit in the society. Over 135 prisoners work in these canteens and cafes as part of open jail concept which keeps them busy and help them serve the society. The initiative has been started by Somesh Goyal, Director General of Prisons, Himachal Pradesh. The Prisons department is earning over 3.5 Crore annually from the produce. The mobile van canteen at the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMC) and book cafe at the Taka Bench are popular attractions for locals and tourists here. A prisoner said, "This works keeps us busy. This is very important for us. People have forgotten about our past. We have started a new life to get mixed with society. We are serving the society which gives us happiness." Somesh Goyal said, "Prisons department wants to rehabilitate the prisoners and integrate them back to society. We're giving job opportunities to prisoners and skilling them up. All our efforts have led to a lot of turnover of jail products that we manufacture. Last year, our turnover was Rs 3.5 crore."