Jail University, a project of Shikshantar

Jail University: a program that allows inmates to explore outlets of healthy and positive expression to reduce the likelihood of repeat offense and reincarcaration

Categories: Education

Year(s): 2020

Location: Rajasthan

Stars behind Bars

In many countries, the rearrest rate for the previously incarcerated are upwards of 37% in the three years after an inmate's release. Programs that allow for inmates to explore outlets of healthy and positive expression are vital in reducing the likelihood of repeat offense and reincarceration.  

Manish Jain,  a founder and creative thinker of Shikshantar, conceived the Jail University idea on a simple yet profound belief: there is goodness in every human-being. Udaipur Central Jail in Rajasthan is a prison in western India that is home to a large variety of inmates. They come from diverse backgrounds, from all over the country, and have been convicted of diverse crimes.  While most of the society write these inmates off from contributing the society, Shikshantar took a bold step in trusting these inmates as contributing members of the community. It recognizes innate goodness and talents that each human being has, and provides them the tools and training to harness the preexisting talents many of these inmates have be from music to art, from farming to computer skills, from hair stylist to cooking. 

Udaipur Central Jail has become a vibrant community of inmates with overwhelming consensus from those interviewed with their gratitude for being given an opportunity to freely express themselves as well as their deep desire to return to society as a positive, contributing individual with no plans to recidivate. The Jail University Program is revolutionary in its vision, application, and effectiveness and has continued to grow and improve with the support of IDS.