Mumbai: Children of inmates in the Byculla Women’s District Prison will now have a better life with a creche, named Nanhe Kadam, which roughly translates to ‘Small Steps’, becoming operational in the prison on Friday.
About 15 children live in the jail, which has 350 women inmates, as their mothers are serving time.
“The children deserve the best of life in every possible way. The prison creche is a way to the outside world that they have not had till now. The inmates are happy with the move and that is all that matters,” Additional Director General of Police (Prisons and Correctional Services) Amitabh Gupta, said while inaugurating the creche.
This is a first of its kind initiative in the country and there are moves to expand this to other prisons, according to Mr Gupta.
The prison administration has tied up with educationists and other experts who will train the children who are not more than six years old.
The children, in sync with their age, will be allotted a specific slot for a personalised education programme, including sports, language, and real-time training.
Till now, the children of the inmates had nothing to do. “They just saw their days passing by, confused about the environment. This also bothered their mothers who blamed themselves for putting their children in misery. If the children are busy in useful activities, their mothers will also get some time for work and the thought of ruining the future of their children will not haunt them,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
The children will be brought to the creche at 8 am and will be kept outside the jail till 6 pm.
Prison authorities will also be able to keep their children at the creche. “Children of the authorities and inmates will be trained and educated together. There is no discrimination when it comes to children and we want to carry on in the same manner, to make them better individuals,” said the official.
Once the children are six years old, they will be moved to either the homes of their relatives or to the state-owned children’s home.