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Open Prison

Released prisoners convalescence


Open- air institutions are essentials a twentieth century device for

rehabilitating offenders to normal life in the society through an
intensive after care programme.

Open air prisons play an important role in the scheme of

reformation of prisoners which has to be recognized as one of the
essential objectives of prison management.


a) United Nations Congress-An open institution is characterized by the absence of

material and physical precautions against escape such as walls,
locks, bars and armed guards etc., and by a system based on selfdiscipline and innate sense of responsibility towards the group in
which he lives.
i.e Minimum Security devices for inmates to rehabilitate them in
society after final release .






In the closing years of nineteenth century, a semi-open prison

institution called the Witzwill establishment was set up in
Open prisons in modern sense were, however, established, in U.K in
1930s and in United States around 1940s.
Philosophy underlying those minimum security institutions was based
on the following basic assumptions--A person is sent to prison as a punishment not for punishment
A person cannot be trained for freedom unless conditions of his
captivity and restraints are considerably relaxed.
The gap between the institutional life and free life outside the prison
should be minimized so as to ensure the return of inmate as a law
abiding member of society.

Open Prison in other countries


The convicts who are nearing the end of their sentence were generally
transferred from conventional prisons to these open farms in forests as
labourers. Experience with these prison labourers was quite encouraging .
It was therefore, realized that majority of these prisoners could be
trusted if engaged in corrective work outside the guarded enclosures under
unarmed supervisors.
A number of open prison camps were operating in Massachusetts and
California in U.S.A as early as 1915.

Other Countries
USA- cont.
The Declaration of Principles of the American Correctional Association
spelt out the philosophy of open peno-correctional institutions as
No law, procedure or system of correction should deprive any
offender of the hope and possibility of his ultimate return to
responsible membership of the society.
In order to ensure restoration of the offender to the community as a
self-restraining member, he must be extended every opportunity to
raise his educational level, improve vocational skills .
It would be gross violation of the concept of rehabilitation, if
offenders are not offered opportunity to be engaged in productive

Other Countries
b) Netherlands (Halland)
The inmates of these open prisons are allowed to mingle freely
with members of society while at work as also during leisure. The
inmates are expected to spend their leisure time within the
institutional framework with opportunities to visit the places of
entertainment and recreation .
c) France
France has an open prison institution in Casabinaca and a semiopen Institution in Oermingen. The inmates in these institutions go
for work as free workers without any supervision and they return to
the prison every evening or during non-working days.

Other Countries -d) Norway and Sweden

Norway and Sweden also established open prisons for their
offenders. Separate institutions called Educational Centre's have
also been set up for the treatment of the young delinquents.
e) Educative Reformative Work in Hungary
The convict is not committed to a prison but is sent to work with
a view to re-educating him. The term of punishment served at the
place of work in educative reformatory system is not to be
considered as a principal punishment but it is rather a concealed fine
to be paid in installments.

Other Countries -f) Belgium--Adequate facilities are provided for their education and they are
offered suitable employment after release from the institution. The
purpose of these open institutions is socialization of inmates, it
enables the inmate to return to normal social life in spite of his early
g) Australia
Recidivist who have served a considerable part of their sentence
in a closed prison, are brought to open-prison camp for
rehabilitation before their final release.

In India

Experience has shown that dumping the convicts in over crowded

prison cells serves no useful purpose.

The institution of open prison seems to be viable alternative to

reduce overcrowding in prisons.

The whole thrust in these open-prison institutions is to make sure

that after release the prisoners may not relapse into crimes and for
this purpose they are given incentives to live a normal free life ,
work on fields or carry on occupation of their choice and participate
in games , sports and other recreational facilities.

In Indiacont.

Origin and Development

The first All India Jail committee was appointed in 1836 to
review the prison administration of this country. But this committee
did not favour employment of prisoners on major public works. The
Second Jail Committee was appointed 1864 and recommended the
employment of prisoners on large public works was not only
valuable but also a necessary adjunct to jail administration.
The All India Jail Committee of 1919-20 re-asserted the
need for humane treatment of offenders . The Chairman of the
committee , Sir Alexander Cardew observed that the most critical
moment in a convicts life is not when he goes into the prison but
when he comes out of it.

In Indiacont
The Committee expressed a view that the open air life and
employment in the form of labour were not averse to reformatory
Main characteristics of open prisons
i) It enables informal and institutional living in small groups with
minimum measure of custody
ii) It efforts to promote consciousness among inmates about their
social responsibilities.
iii) It offers adequate facilities for training inmates in agriculture
and other related occupations.
iv) It provides greater responsibilities for inmates to meet their
relatives and friends sot that they can solve their domestic problems

In Indiacont
Main characteristics---cont.
v) It make it possible to pay proper attention towards the health and
recreational facilities for inmates.
vi) It ensures payment of wages in part to the inmates and sending part
to his family.
vii) The avoidance of unduly long institutional detention of prisoners
is the basic policy underlying the open jails.

Advantages of Open Prisons





They help in reducing overcrowding in Jails.

The operational cost of open prison is far less than the enclosed
The Engaging inmates of open air prisons is productive work
reduces idleness and keeps them physically and mentally fit.
Open prisons offer opportunities for self improvement and
resocialisation to the inmates.
The removal of prisoners from general prison to an open prison
helps in conservation of natural resources and widens the scope of
rehabilitative process.

Open Air Prisons in Different

States of India

The State of U.P was the first in point of time to set

up an open air camp attached to Model prison at
Lucknow in 1949. on October 1, 1952 on the left
bank of river Chandraprabha an open air camp was
started and proveded job to inmates in construction
of dam.


Andhra Pradesh followed the suit and started Mauli

Ali Agricultural Colony for convicts in 1954. The
colony covers about 93 acres of land and allows
inmates to live with their families .

Critical Appreciation

It must be accepted that these open jails have

become a part and parcel of the present day prison
system. They have rendered commendable service to
society in general prison community in particular.

The working of open prisons over the years has

proved beyond doubt that help and not hate should be
guiding principle underlying modern prison

Thank You