[Inteview] Justice doesn’t seek revenge: Smita Chakraburtty reiterates that the point of imprisonment is to reform, not foster criminalization

[Inteview] Justice doesn’t seek revenge: Smita Chakraburtty reiterates that the point of imprisonment is to reform, not foster criminalization

I was interviewed by Natasha Badhwar for LiveMint. We talked at length about criminal justice system in India, prison reform and especially – open prisons. Here’s the preview:

Smita Chakraburtty has spent most of her adult life in and out of prisons. In fact, it is the photographs of Smita flanked by the prisoners of the Sanganer Open Prison near Jaipur—the Shri Sampoornananda Khula Bandi Shivir—that drew me to her story.

“An open prison is a prison without bars,” states the 34-year-old independent researcher plainly. In the Sanganer Open Prison, inmates, most of them convicted for murder, live with their families in independent homes on the campus. There are no prison walls and inmates go out to work every day. All that is required of them is to be present at attendance in the morning and evening, and to live peacefully.

“It is a successful and humane experiment that has been present right in front of our eyes and yet it has been invisible to us,” says Smita, who has been appointed the honorary commissioner of prisons, Rajasthan, by the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority headed by Justice K.S. Jhaveri as executive chairman.

Read the full article here.