Prison tourism on the cards in Maharashtra

The tourists have to carry out their day as per the routine of actual prisoners, wear authentic convicts’ clothes and sleep on the dormitory floor

Prison tourism on the cards in Maharashtra

In an attempt to keep up with the global growing fad of ‘prison tourism’, Maharashtra prison administration will send a proposal to the government next week, to seek permission for tourists to rent a real prison cell. If the proposal is approved, Maharashtra will become the second state after Telangana to have the ‘Prison Tourism’ programme.

Calling it a wonderful plan to boost tourism, director general of prisons, Bipin Bihari said that it will also deter people from breaking the law in future as it would be possible to view a convict’s life closely.

Maharashtra has 54 jails, of which nine are central prisons. The rest are district and open prisons collectively housing 25,000 inmates.

The Sindhudurg district jail, which can house a total of 500 inmates, has been selected for the pilot project. It has the least number of inmates (25) compared to other jails in the state. It is clean, hygienic and is equipped with all basic amenities and a fully operational kitchen.

Bookings will remain open all throughout the year. The tourists can choose to stay for a stipulated time period for a day or a week and will be alloted a spot in the jail barracks on a first come, first serve basis. The daily rate for the visitors will be a little more than the state spends on prisoners. The revenue collected will be utilised for the welfare of jails in the state.

Tourists must produce a fitness certificate and should not have a history of medical problems. People having a criminal past will not be selected. Visitors also have to sign an undertaking, saying they will abide by the rules of the jail.

The tourists will wear the uniform of a convict, sleep on the floor of the dormitory and carry out their day as per the routine of actual prisoners.

Finer details have not been worked out now. Additional chief secretary Vijay Satbir Singh told that there are plans for a jail museum with articles from people who were housed in the jails so that the tourists can see. They are also planning to sell handmade things that the prisoners make inside the jails for these visitors to purchase as mementoes.