Bhupendra Singh, a life term convict for murder from Madhya Pradesh, regrets the crime he had committed 22 years ago and wanted to start his life afresh by opening a tea stall in the city. However, Singh, who has some more years to go before he completes his prescribed sentence, feels like a free man now itself, thanks to the open jail experiment being implemented in Madhya Pradesh. Singh is one of the ten prisoners who were given flats to live in with their families in Devi Ahilyabai Khuli Colony, the first open jail in Indore. The open jails at Indore and Sagar were inaugurated on September 3.
Singh, a resident of Shajapur, was handed life imprisonment in 1996. He had spent time in different jails in the state since then, before he was selected for the open jail. “I have some more time left to complete my sentence of life imprisonment. But after coming to open jail, I am feeling that I am released now. I regret for the crime (Singh had killed a youth over a family dispute). Now, I wanted to lead a normal life,” he said.
Singh said he now has freedom to work outside in the open jail. He is now planning to open a tea shop in the city. Singh lives with his 35-year old wife Seema in Khuli Colony. Their two sons are studying outside Indore. Seema said they would get their sons admitted in a local school from the next academic session. “I brought up my sons on my own as I lived away from my husband for years. Now we are happy to live together,” she said.
District and Sessions Judge Rajiv Kumar Shrivastav has appreciated the open jail experiment. “Many times, people commit serious crimes on spur of moment. When such people are kept in normal prisons for a long time, they start rebelling against social system and also develop negative feelings. The open jail is the best option for social uplift of such people, which keeps them away from negative feelings,” he said.