Women jail inmates become assistant beauty therapists
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Women jail inmates become assistant beauty therapists

March 8, 2023

Pics & inputs by M.N. Lakshminarayana Yadav

Starting afresh: Women in Mysuru Central Prison upskill themselves to lead a dignified life

The Mysuru Central Prison is home to over 38 women prisoners, both convicts and undertrials, who engage themselves in beauty parlour training and also attend coir mat-making, tailoring and embroidery classes.

This jail is all set to break the stereotypical standards applied to beauty and the women will take charge of handing out services like pedicures, manicures, facials, massages, hair cutting, hair dyeing, spa treatments, grooming services and many more. A practical lab for the same has been established in the premises of the Mysuru Jail.

The activities have helped them shed their past baggage and hope for a future where they can earn and gain recognition using the skills they are learning now. Many of them have completed a three-month beautician training course in the jail and will carry an ‘Assistant Beauty Therapist’ certificate qualifying them to work in beauty salons when they get out of prison.

K.C. Divyashree Chief Superintendent, Mysuru Jail

An agent of rehabilitation

“This is one of the humanisation reforms introduced in prisons that aim to weaken the prison’s function as an institute of punishment while strengthening its role as an agent of rehabilitation and ensuring prisoners’ rights,” Chief Superintendent of Mysuru Central Prison K.C. Divyashree told Star of Mysore.

“We always assume the prisons are in deplorable conditions and the inmates aren’t treated well. Because, they deserve to be tormented for their crimes, even when they’re serving jail term. But the whole point of putting someone in confinement is to reform them and make them better so they can be of good use to society and make amends for the crimes they have committed,” she added.

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Of the 38 convicts and undertrials, 20 of them have expertise in enhancing beauty and have undergone the three-month training. The certificate will be handed over after a detailed assessment and examination by the Karnataka Skill Development Authority (KSDA) as the courses have been accredited by KSDA.

Contribution from CSR initiative

“We appointed Royal Computers to provide the professional expertise and the programme has been sponsored by J.K. Tyre under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds. Every day, the beautician training was imparted for four hours and the trainers used to get the training equipment. Before the KSDA assesses the trainees, they will be examined and their skills will be tested by an independent third-party firm and they will also certify and rate them as per their skillsets,” Divyashree said.

“All these courses are being taught free of cost and the inmates will have the liberty to pursue them. This is to help women prisoners become self-sufficient and lead dignified lives after they complete their jail term. With the KSDA certification, women can obtain loans from Banks to start a beauty parlour or even work in any parlour to support their families,” she added.

Other skill-based activities

Apart from beautician course, the Karnataka State Coir Development Corporation is training the women in coir mat-making after making ropes out of coir strands. “We provide them wages for their work as per the Karnataka Minimum Wages Act and the income generated out of the product sale is deposited to the accounts of the women so that they can either send money to their families or use them to purchase essentials,” Divyashree noted.

Inmates are also trained to make garlands by Tumakuru-based Rekha Creations and are taught embroidery, saree and blouse embellishment work. The women jail employees are working dedicatedly and they understand the problem of women inmates and are empathetic towards them. The staff also takes a keen interest in the reformation and other welfare activities for the inmates.

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“Staying away from their families and children, many women prisoners suffer anxiety and these activities ensure their mental well-being and also help them to lead an independent and self-reliant life. They will also be in a position to support their families financially,” she added.

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