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Bangladesh Opens First Ever Garment Factory in a Prison

Jailed citizens in Bangladesh will now be able to make garments while they serve their time.

The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) trained 300-400 prisoners to work two shifts in a mini-garment factory, according to the Dhaka Tribune.

The mini-factory opened Wednesday in the Narayanagnj District Jail, with the idea of having prisoners earn money for their labor while serving sentences. Each prisoners’ earnings will go to their respective accounts, which they can save or use to send to family.

The factory was built in a 5,000-square-foot area of the prison, with a total of 57 machines, some for sewing and others for embroidery. The facility will import fabrics from abroad for the garment production, and some prisoners will work on producing jamdani woven fabrics, while others will produce bed sheets.

Little details were provided as to where the prison-made garments will go and whether they’ll be for export. There was also little said about wage rates for the prisoners, which likely won’t follow conventional domestic wage rates.

Separate from prisoners, Bangladesh has been looking to establish more reasonable wage standards in the country’s ready-made garment sector, and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association is pushing for wages to double to 10,600 taka ($127) a month, up from the 5,300 taka that hasn’t gone up since 2013.