Monday, 27 March, 2023

Prison-based rehab scheme in the offing

In our society, crimes are on the rise. Serious types of crimes are taking place more and more. Almost every day, peace-loving people are becoming victims of new types of crimes. Excessive lust for money or expensive belongings is to be blamed for rise in crimes. Ruthless desire for control, revenge, or power also leads to murders and serious assaults. In recent times, the country saw significant crime rise across its major cities. And, it is not letting up. Criminals should definitely be punished for their evil acts. But punishment to criminals in the form of imprisonment is not the only solution to get rid of the social crimes. Imprisonment, in itself, is incapable of addressing prisoners’ social reintegration issues. They should be given ample opportunity of reformation and rehabilitation with a view to avoiding future offending.

Comprehensive education programmes should be arranged aiming to develop full potential of every prisoner. These will help improve prospects of reintegration, self-esteem and morale. In our country, the extent of prisoners’ involvement in constructive activities is often much smaller. However, there is a growing recognition of the importance of rehabilitation programmes in prisons. According to a lead story of a prominent vernacular daily, the Ministry of Home Affairs of the incumbent government has formulated a draft of a new “Prisons and Correctional Services Act” that puts rehabilitation of prisoners at the core of prison delivery. Rehabilitation covers a wide variety of activities—including medical and psychological treatment, counselling and cognitive-behavioural programmes. Vocational training and work, on the other hand, are very straightforward ways of engaging the large numbers of prisoners in constructive activities, fostering their employability upon release and therefore their ability to successfully reintegrate into society.

The Act will soon be placed at the upcoming Cabinet meeting. Once it is implemented, the prison inmates will be immensely benefited by it. Work, in particular, can produce financial and other resources for both the prisoners enrolled in such programmes as well as for the prison system. Prisoners might also be indirect resources, for example when the products of prisoners’ work are sold and parts of the profits reinvested in the prison system. The above reasons illustrate why prison systems should invest in the rehab programme.