Better off in prison.

Position:TALKING PICTURES - Living inside prisons - Brief article

It is about 9 in the morning. A small door at Hyderabad's Central Prison for Women opens and seven children in khaki school uniforms emerge and board a minibus. It's time for the ride to a private school nearby.

The seven children are the oldest of the 33 living in prison with their mothers, who are among the prison's 221 inmates. The prison pays for the children's schooling, which most of the mothers would never be able to afford.

Rosa, 24, and her son Banni have been in custody for six months awaiting her trial for robbery. She has applied to be freed on bail but has been denied. Outside the prison she made a living by selling pictures and statues of saints and Hindu gods.

"I am content with my life here," she says. "Not much happens, my life is peaceful here. And my son can stay with me, it makes me happy. Outside my life was tough sometimes. I had no home and was sleeping at a temple. Here it's much safer for me and Banni."

Rosa's reflections are not uncommon. Most of the women are from poor backgrounds, lack education and skills, and have been living insecure lives. In the...

To continue reading