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mid-day editorial: Remand homes must change

Grabbing the opportunity to get out of a packed rescue home, 17 inmates from a Chembur home fled through a bathroom window. They executed a planned escape out of an overcrowded home. While 16 managed to flee, one was caught before she could board a train from Chembur.

The incident took place on Saturday July 2, between 7.15 pm and 8 pm after the women had finished dinner, reports stated.

These were women brought to the home just a month ago, when they were rescued from dance bars and massage parlours from the city.

This raises the point of upping security at remand homes across the city. We have seen across that inmates outnumber the security personnel at remand homes.

While this is one case, it is a microcosm of a pattern across Mumbai, where inmates, instead of being grateful to be brought to a remand home, are waiting to escape. This is either to go back to the life they had been rescued from, or simply to escape the home because of the conditions.

There has to be a concerted effort to make homes more hygienic and overall, have a better ambience for the inmates. This is not to take away from the efforts by different arms to rescue women or men, young persons and give them an opportunity of a better life, through a remand home. One does understand the challenges are huge, in a country where poverty is rife and there is overpopulation.

Yet, basic cleanliness, sanitary upkeep and food must be priority so that inmates think here is their option to a better life. Let there be emphasis on good sanitation and clean living conditions. Food, shelter and clothing, the bedrock of existence, should be of good standard at these homes.

Then can come the second tier of the functioning of a remand home, teaching and imparting life skills to inmates so that they get a better chance at life.

In the end, the very place that is supposed to be a beacon of hope and an avenue for a second chance, cannot be a place which one hopes to run away from. Remand homes, be the home sweet home inmates want to stay in.

 

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