Coimbatore Central JailCoimbatore is a rapidly developing city known for its temples, lakes and technology. The city is located on the banks of Noyyal River and is surrounded by the famed Western Ghats. The city is a hub for numerous technologies and industries like textiles, IT and manufacturing. But somewhere in the progresses of today’s world some of the history of this ancient city is lost.
One of the many rich threads from the profuse history of the city is the Coimbatore Central Prison. The prison was constructed during the pre-Independence era under the British Raj. The provision for proper jail building in the whole of India is the contribution of the British Government. The governemnt did not maintain proper buildings.
Lord Macaulay who is a member of the Indian Law Commission was the first to initiate the Prison reform in 1835 in India. The jail for women in Vellore known as the Presidency Jail, was the first prison to be built in the state of Tamil Nadu during the year 1830. The Madras "Penitentiary" was built soon after that during the year 1837 and all other prisons were constructed after that till the year 1872.
The structure of Coimbatore Central Prison was completed in the year 1872 thus making it more than one hundred and forty years old. It is located in an area comprising almost one hundred and seventy acres and has the authority to accommodate more than 2200 inmates.
The importance of any structure lies in its history and legacy. Coimbatore Central Prison is rich in both. This one and half century old building whose architecture reminds us of the British era has been a host to many prominent pre-Independence figures. The freedom fighter V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, more popularly known as the "The Tamil Helmsman" was confined in this Prison during the freedom struggle from 9 July 1908 to 1 December 1910. At one time a member of the Indian National Congress, he was later charged with sedition by the British government and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The worst tragedy to take place in the Prison was the earthquake of 1900. The prison was destroyed on February 8, 1900 because of an earthquake which nearly killed 30 inhabitants and damaging the entire Coimbatore jail, and a Roman Catholic chapel
The Central Prison in Coimbatore houses 1,700 prisoners, including 890 remand prisoners. 49 women prisoners are lodged in the annex building. The prison already has weaving, uniform for prisoners, book binding, carpet, tailoring, raincoat, handloom, mosquito net, and police and file making units. Prisoners convicted for various crimes work on these units.
Lately, the prisoners of the Coimbatore Central Prison are getting a chance to cultivate fish and rear poultry. Prison authorities with the help of some NGOs have constructed farms inside the prison complex. The meat from the poultry farm is served to prisoners as part of the regular prison menu and the fish is sold outside the prison to the public. The prisoners maintain the fish and poultry farms and are paid for their labour. There are plans in action to start prison canteens and bakeries in the western and the southern side of the prison entrance for the public, under the prison bazaar scheme.
The core idea behind the businesses according to the authorities is to help the prisoners get some sense of trade so that they can earn an honest living when they get out; a commendable and praiseworthy step indeed.
Dy. Inspector General of Prisons
Off : 0422-2383625
Fax : 0422-2303500
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