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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 October 2005, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
India inmates to live with wives
By Faisal Mohammad Ali
BBC News, Bhopal

The central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh says it plans to let well-behaved prisoners live with their wives and children in jail.

It will build special family jails where some long-term inmates can share their quarters with their family.

Administrators hope the move might even inspire the state's notorious bandits to surrender.

The state has about 10,000 long-term prisoners in a jail population of 30,000 housed in 115 jails.

The exercise is part of a comprehensive reform programme launched by the state's jail administration and is expected to be running by next year.

Population jump

The government is building 25 special two-room quarters in Hoshangabad, about 60 km (37 miles) from the capital, Bhopal, on an experimental basis.

The administration hopes the initiative might see some of the notorious Chambal dacoits surrender but one senior jail official said the reform had not been initiated specifically with that in mind.

Madhya Pradesh minister for jails, Dhal Singh Bisen, said he was aware the new move might inspire a population jump but added that the numbers were expected to be small.

India has only two jails - Sangmer and Durgapur in Rajasthan - where prisoners can currently share quarters with their family members.

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