Country’s first ever garments factory in prison was opened in Narayanganj on 27 December 2017. The initiative was undertaken to facilitate the prisoners to earn money using labour while serving jail term. Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) had been assigned the task to train around 300-400 prisoners to knit garments-wear. The garment factory was built on 5,000 square feet of area with the help of the district administration and the Department of Social Services. The facility has sewing and embroidery machines imported from abroad.
The term Prison is closely related to prisoners, convicted, prison officials and staffs. Due to various crimes, the convicted/accused persons are staying in different periods as prisoners.As a result, the normal life of these prisoners become obstructed. In addition, some of the convicted were the only earning member in their family. In absence of them, their families,especially their dependent boys and girls, areforced to live a measurable life with stress and economic crisis. In developed countries, prison plays its role as the institution of rehabilitation. In order to establish such a concept firmly in our beloved motherland, Resilience: Garments Industry and Jamdani Production Center in Narayanganj District Jail has been constructed by Rabbi Miah, Deputy Commissioner, Narayanganj, withhis sole initiative, planning as well as collection of fund and construction materials.Objectives of the initiative
A prison incorporates both short term and long term prisoners as well as convicted. As District Magistrate of Naraynganj, Rabbi Miah has official inspection every month in Narayanganj District Jail. During inspection, he often talks with prisoners and observes the lethargic and distressful picture of jail life of the prisoners. According to him “ As District Magistrate during my inspection at district jail, I have seen that most of the prisoners had to bear a measurable life in prison with no works except the convicted who were legally bound to work.Inside the jail, the convicted prisoners are engaged in some small nature works and involved in some areas of production. Perceiving this backdrop, I brainstormed to do something innovative for the prisoners which will incorporates a large number of prisoners and give chance to the prisoners to engage in economic activities and being freed in some respect from stressful jail life. As we all know, Narayangang is conceived with hundreds of garments as well as knitting industries. From this perspective, I decided to build a garments industry in district jail. The prisoners and convicted have got chance to work here and they will be given a share of the profit accrued from the garments industry in conformance to Jail Code. By this way they will be self-sufficient, reduce their metal stress and provide a hope for better life after leaving jail.” In a nutshell, following are the main purpose of building garments industry in Narayanganj District Jail. First, to keep prisoners free from mental stress and economic crisis. Give them the minimum standard of living. Reclaim them in society with capital. So that they can take new initiatives to be financially sound. After being released from jail, they do not become economically dependable or are not treated as burden on the family. Second, prisoners need to be economically self-sufficient in order to rehabilitate them in their normal life. If they get this opportunity, they can be financially independent and participate in the economic activities of the country as well.
The garments industry and Jamdani production center is built inside the jail on 7000 square feet of area with the help of public-private sector enterprises and individuals. It has been started working with 54 machines. Further 300 machines will be set up in phases. The factory has all the sections including cutting, printing and iron. Each machine will be operated by a skilled craftsman and a helper. Besides, labor will be needed for cutting, printing, ironing and movement of materials. As a result, in every shift about 150 prisoners will get the opportunity to work here. At present, 300 prisoners are working in two shifts. It’s a knit garments. Every day 15 thousand pieces of clothing will be produced.In addition to the garments industry, 10 Jamdani weaving machine have been installedhere. To operate each machine 2 weavers and 2 assistant to weavers are required for. By this way a total of 80 prisoners are provided with jobs in two shifts in Jamdani Production Centre in Jail. Apart from this, the construction of bed sheets, blinds, blocks, batiks, candles, tissue boxes and other handicrafts work is going on inside the jail. As a whole, the opportunity of employment for about 450 prisoners has been created in Narayanganj District Jail.The products of the garments industry will be sold both in local and internal market. The earnings of the prisoners will be credited to their respective accounts. They can send the money to their families or withdraw the entire amount together while leaving the jail.