Back to RJ Archive

Prison without Walls: Kerala’s Open Prison Draws on Strengths of Community Life

Merkel, Jim
June 4, 2015

Source: (1994) In Context. No. 38: 48ff.

More than 30 years ago, Kerala’s central government set up a commission that recommended open prisons focused on reform. In August 1962, Kerala’s first open prison was inaugurated. Currently, it’s the only open prison in Kerala, although Indian states Uttar Pradesh and Andra Pradesh also have this type of prison. Viewed as an experiment, the prison holds about 280 prisoners. Every convict begins his sentence in a closed prison, and those who exhibit good behavior are transferred to the open prison. The open prison is known for treating prisoners with respect and entrusting them with responsibilities for work on the rubber plantation, personal chores, and cooperation within the prison community. Attempting to escape or committing any criminal offense after release will result in incarceration in a closed prison. To date, there has been only one repeat offender.


AbstractAsiaCourtsPrisonsRestorative PracticesRJ and the WorkplaceRJ in SchoolsRJ OfficeStatutes and LegislationTeachers and StudentsTransformationVictim Support
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now