There is often a misconception among the public that prisoners are treated very badly and are not provided with enough food and facilities. At least in Kerala, it is not like that. The famed Gothamb Unda (Wheat Ball) does not find a place in the diet of Kerala’s prisoners anymore. The government tries to ensure healthy food for every inmate.
With breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner, the prisoners are fed four times a day. The government tries to allocate food items with high nutritional value. For those who are physically challenged or need special attention, the government provides a special diet, after consulting with the prison medical officer.
For breakfast, they are given upma, dosa, idly, or chappathi along with tea. For lunch, rice and vegetarian or non-vegetarian dishes are provided. Thrice a week, non-vegetarian dishes have been included in the diet of the inmates. Every day, tea is given in the evenings. And for dinner, rice and tapioca dishes are included. If possible rice is replaced by wheat. On special occasions like Vishu, Onam, Ramzan , Bakrid, Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanthi and Kerala Piravi, special feast menus are given. In open prisons, harvest feasts are given during the close of every harvest.
The prisoners are also given adequate wages for the works they do. Kerala Prisons and Correctional Services Department pays wages to the prisoners who work in carpentry, smithy, printing, tailoring, weaving, agricultural activities, binding, etc. The wages range from Rs.110 to Rs.200 for one day. Tasks are given to the inmates after taking consideration of their educational qualifications, social background and physical ability. Extra wages are given to those who are engaged in additional work.
Various welfare programs are also conducted inside the jails throughout the State. Yoga classes, art and sports competitions, library facilities, etc. are also made available in jails. In major jails, canteen facilities are also available.
Kudos to the government for making the lives of prisoners a bit easier.
Main photograph from keralaprisons.gov.in