You don’t have to be a criminal to go to jail!
All of us have wondered how’s life in jails would be. Take your imaginations away! You don’t need to a criminal or the visitor of a criminal to enter the jail gates anymore. Just like the much famed Alcatraz in San Francisco and the cellular jails in Andaman, the gates of Maharashtra jails are also open to public from now on.
The state prison administration is all set to send a proposal to the government to allow tourists to rent a real prison cell, where they can live for a stipulated period. If the proposal is approved, Maharashtra will be the second state in the country, after Telangana, to initiate the “Prison Tourism” programme.
Maharashtra has 54 jails, of which nine are central prisons, which collectively house 25,000 inmates.“This is a wonderful plan to boost tourism, especially among adventure seekers. The hardship of staying in a prison cell will also deter people from breaking the law in future,” said Bipin Bihari, director general, prisons.
The Sindhudurg district jail has been selected for the pilot project. The jail which can accommodate 500 inmates, currently has only 25. If the proposal is approved, the current batch of inmates will be relocated to the Oros district jail.
Bookings will be open throughout the year. Tourists will be alloted a spot in the jail barracks on a first come, first serve basis. The jail authorities are yet to fix the daily rate for the visitors. The revenue collected are said to be utilised for the welfare of jails in the state.
To avoid controversies or mishaps, the jail administration has laid down certain conditions that tourists must fulfil before they are selected for the stay. “Tourists must produce a fitness certificate and should not have a history of medical problems. People having a criminal past will not be selected,” a senior jail official said. Visitors will also have to sign an undertaking, saying they will abide by the rules of the jail.
The Sangareddy jail in at Medak in Telangana, was opened to public for a 24 hour stay in October 2016. The jail was originally built in 1796 by Nizam Ali Khan of Hyderabad. Designed to house the Nizam’s horses, the building was later made into a jail under the British colonial administration.