The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) has sent a second group of inmates to Paro under the Open Air Prison (OAP) initiative yesterday, after a successful trial with the first batch.
Many of the prisoners in Chamgang prison have welcomed the initiative by RBP, and said such initiatives will enable them to lead a normal life in long run without having to go through life forever marked as an ex convict who have served jail time.
One of the prisoners said the initiative should have come earlier, but he is happy that it is going well and is eager to be placed in OAP.
Dorji, 56, a father of three from Punakha has never imagined that he would be one among the 121 prisoners released for the OAP from Chamgang jail yesterday.
Carrying a bead and chanting prayers, Dorji was nervous and excited at the same time as he would now be able to meet his family.
“It will be a time to give back. They suffered during my absence and now I will work hard and let my family to never suffer,” he said.
Like Dorji, the other prisoners are also happy and emotional that they can now reunite with their loved ones.
Coinciding with the auspicious occasion of the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche, His Majesty the King granted amnesty to 28 convicts under various prisons in the country, and also approved 121 convicts to be sent for the Open Air Prison.
Out of the 121 prisoners, 30 of them will be sent to Dongkala lhakhang, 30 to Pangpetsa lhakhang under Paro while 20 will be sent to Takchu goenpa, and other 20 will go to Yongtong goenpa under Haa. One of the prisoners will be sent to Euto goenpa in Paro.
Prisoners are being sent to support and assist the re-constructions and renovation works of the lhakhangs in Paro and Haa.
During the first phase, 30 inmates were sent to Euto goenpa, Paro in March this year to serve their remaining terms in renovating the goenpa.
In the span of two months, the first batch inmates who were sent to OAP at Paro have jointly earned a total of sum Nu 2, 83,200.
The prisoners were sent to OAP for exemplary behavior.
The Good Conduct Review Committee (GCRC) consists of the additional superintendant (SP) and a prison officer, two senior non-commissioned officers (NCO), a prison guard and two prisoners from each of the five blocks were appointed in each of the prisons in the country.
The objective of GCRC is to maintain a record of both good and bad conduct of the inmates in their personal files, which will be later reviewed after a year to be eligible for the Open Air Prison.
The committee prepares a list of prisoners qualifying for the remission of their sentences. The list is submitted to the jail SP by the respective officer in-charge (OC) of the prison from across the country which then will be given to deputy chief of police of the special Police branch.
The list is carefully examined and then submitted to the Chief of Police for the formal approval. It’s only after the formal approval that the prisoners will receive remission of one month sentence reduction in a year.
Chencho Dema / Thimphu