National Conference of Heads of Prisons and the Prison Radio

Report by Pavani Chandhok

The 7th National Conference of Heads of Prisons, organized by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), MHA, was conducted on 7 – 8 October 2021 in New Delhi. The Conference provided a common platform to stakeholders from across the country to deliberate the emerging challenges in the field of correctional administration. The outcome of the Conference helped in preparing the Decadal Road Map for Prisons & Correctional Services in India.

A panel discussion on Prisons & Correctional Services in India: A perspective was conducted on October 7. The esteemed panelists were –

  • Shri. Anand Kumar, DG Prisons, Uttar Pradesh
  • Shri. Puneet Sehgal, Director, NALSA, Delhi
  • Dr. Murali Karnam, Assistant Professor, Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad
  • Dr. Vartika Nanda, Indian Prison Reformer and Media Educator

Dr. Vartika Nanda, Founder, Tinka Tinka was invited as a panelist for the opening session wherein significant findings on Indian prisons were shared. During the conference, Dr. Nanda presented her an amalgamation of her podcasts- Tinka Tinka Jail Radio, compiling her research and activities on various jails in India. This is the only podcast series in India, which is solely dedicated to prison reforms and aims at bringing together the growth of prison radio through the initiatives of Tinka Tinka. These regular podcasts are scripted and voiced by Vartika Nanda. These podcasts provide an outlet to voices from prisons. Each podcast comes with an untold story and message, depicting creativity in jails and connecting jails to one another.  All this work is based on the Tinka Model of Prison Reforms.

Dr. Vartika Nanda has played a vital role in bringing prison radio to District Jail Agra in Uttar Pradesh in 2019, empowering the inmates to explore and showcase their hidden talents. The initiative encouraged the U.P Prison Department to actuate Prison Radio in 5 Central Jails and 18 District Jails. Tinka Tinka has also been instrumental in conceptualizing, training, and executing prison radio in Haryana. Tinka Tinka was also conducive to introducing prison radio in the state of Uttarakhand.

Dr. Vartika Nanda is India’s leading prison reformer and also a media educator. She was honored with the Stree Shakti Puraskar by the President of India in 2014. Her work on prisons was taken cognizance by the Supreme Court of India in 2018, in “Inhuman conditions in 1382 prisons”. Her significant projects with Tihar Prison Complex, District Jail Dasna, District Jail Agra, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana have positively changed the prison atmosphere, fulfilling their communication needs and paving the way to reformation. Written and published as part of the projects by Dr. Vartika Nanda are three books  Tinka Tinka Tihar, Tinka Tinka Dasna, and Tinka Tinka Madhya Pradesh. The 3 books on prisons are authentic versions of prison life which aids in leading the inmates to a better future. Working on prison reforms is part of her spiritual journey. She heads the Department of Journalism at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University.

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