200 years wait for new menu in prisons

Staff Correspondent

17 June, 2019 12:00 AM printer

A 200-year wait by the inmates of Bangladesh’s prisons ended Sunday when Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan launched a new breakfast menu at the Dhaka Central Jail in nearby Keraniganj area amid cheers.

Khan said, “Keeping the health and nutrition of the inmates in mind, the government has changed the menu.”

“The inmates are being trained in 38 skills in the prison to ensure that they are able to earn a living after being released from prison,” he added.

Jail officials said several thousand inmates cheered the launch by clapping their hands as this was one of their best news as convicts.

Since colonial times, inmates were served with 116.64 grams of wheat bread and 14.58 grams of molasses (bit gur); the prisoners under trial were allotted 87.48 grams of wheat bread and 14.58 grams of molasses (bit gur) which were inadequate to keep healthy.

Instead of the 200-year-old menu made by the colonial British administration, they have started to be served with vegetable and bread or halua and bread with mixed vegetable, distributed over each week.

Sources said a series of such changes were being implemented on the order of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and included counseling to make them “good citizens” when the are freed.

Telephones have been installed in jails so that the inmates could talk via apps so that they could also see the person they talked with, the sources said.

Bangladesh has 60 jails with a capacity to house 35,000 inmates, but they have been overcrowded for decades forcing prisoners to lie down hugging each others bodies.