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Change in old prison breakfast menu

From now on prisioners will be served with vegetables, ‘halua’ (sweets made of wheat) and khichuru — a spiced rice, cooked with lentils

WT24 Desk

Jail authorities today upgraded a 200-year-old breakfast menu in the crammed prisons as part of the government efforts to ensure imitates’ physical and mental health, Agencies report.

“The decision to serve improved (breakfast) diets will be enforced from today,” home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal announced as he visited Keraniganj Central Jail on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka. He said since the British colonial regime, the inmates were being served “inadequate and poor” breakfast while “we are introducing today a balanced and healthy breakfast menu for them”.

Prison officials said their records suggest since the introduction of the jails in 18th century the inmates were being served with meager chapatti bread and sugar cane molasses.

“From now on they will be served with vegetables, ‘halua’ (sweets made of wheat) and khichuru — a spiced rice, cooked with lentils . . . the inmates cheered as the improved breakfast was served today,” a prison official said.

He said different menus would be served on different days of the week while the vegetables will be provided along with breads four days in a week.

So far a convict was being served with flour bread weighing 116.64 grams and sugarcane molasses weighing 14.58 grams in the breakfast while flour bread weighing 87.48 grams and sugarcane molasses weighing 14.58 grams were allotted for an under trial prisoner.

Bangladesh’s 60 jails now hold 81,000 inmates, many of them being under trial prisoners, while officials said the correction facilities were inadequate to accommodate the huge number of prisoners.

“We are trying to bring down the number of prisoners,” the minister said during the visit while officials said a number of convicts are routinely released ahead of completion of their terms on the basis of their conducts in confinement.

Kamal said the government was also trying to address the inmates’ psychological issues as part of which “we by now introduced a special cell p[hone service called ‘prison link’ so they could talk to their relatives”.

He said the authorities were running 28 programmes to train the convicts so they could return to a normal life on completion of their terms.

“The prisons of the country have now been turned into rehabilitation centers,” he said.

Home Secretary Shahidul Islam, Inspector General of prisons Mustafa Kamal Pasha, Additional Inspector General Abrar Hossain, Dhaka’s Deputy Commissioner Abu Saleh Mohammad Ferdous Khan and Deputy Inspector General (prison) Tipu Sultan, among others, were present on the occasion.

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