The Narayanganj District Jail has proven itself to be ahead of the curve in terms of progressive prison policy, by establishing a Ready Made Garments factory inside its premises for inmates to work in. The factory will even distribute half of the total profits among the inmates.
It is a mark of an unusually enlightened, humane, and forward-looking approach in Bangladesh and, as such, very much deserving of praise.
Such rehabilitative programs help prisoners develop the skills and discipline required to be productive members of society.
The idea that rehabilitation should be a function of the prison system goes back as early as the 18th century, when eminent philosophers like Jeremy Bentham, along with many philanthropists at the time, argued for rehabilitating prisoners, as opposed to simply punishing them.
Currently in the United States, 84% of state prisons offer high school classes and nearly all federal prisons provide vocational training.
Even from a purely practical perspective, rehabilitation has several benefits. Studies have confirmed that rehabilitation programs significantly reduce recidivism -- that is, the likelihood of a convicted prisoner committing another crime and being re-incarcerated. This has been shown to reduce costs overtime, making it economically expedient.
Vocational programs like these can contribute directly to the economy by putting idle labour to productive use and creating output that people can consume.
We highly appreciate BKMEA for supporting this initiative and showing that business and social impact do not have to be mutually exclusive.
And we hope that more prisons around the country will adopt a similar approach in their facilities.