THANE: Harshad Bhikanrao Ahirrao, the superintendent of Thane Central Jail, has been designated to receive the President of India’s Correctional Service Medal for meritorious service for his exemplary initiatives in bringing about a change in the lives of the inmates, officials said on Sunday.
Ahirrao started initiatives like ensuring proper meals, timely medical checks for inmates in addition to encouraging and providing basic education to the illiterate and even identifying those with special skills and encouraging them to pursue it.
The Nashik native said he always wanted to bring about the change in the mindset of inmates, most of who often nurtured ill-will towards the society. “My focus was to ensure that once they are released, they don’t turn towards crime. The best way to win them over was to ensure their good health and that they got proper hot food. We procured automatic machines through government funds and also conducted regular free advanced health checks for the inmates,” he said.
“We have also roped in educated under trials to educate nearly 3000 illiterate inmates here till date and have also started loan schemes for those with special skills. They can avail of interest free loans on their release and focus on their career and not return to crime. We have also helped earn the trust of these inmates by taking care of their families during times of distress. We also coordinate for getting free legal assistance to underprivileged inmates,” he said.
In his career spanning 26 years, Ahirrao, has served at various posts in the Yerawada, Nashik, Nagpur and Mumbai but his exemplary works for the overall betterment of nearly 5000 under-trials lodged here over the last three years have earned him this coveted medal, a district official said.
“I was nominated several times but never got it and finally this time I feel elated after my name was announced for the prestigious award. It feels like all my efforts towards creating something better for the inmates has paid off well. The award will be presented in January,” said Ahhirrao.