As Hon’ble Lt. Governor Dr. Kiran Bedi in her address to Prison
Officials eleborated, the Prison Officials should become from Guard
to Guardian. No longer they guard the Inmates but also become their
guardian to mentor them in new learning environment. The Role
changes from negative to a positive in helping inmates to take
advantage of Reformation process in the Prison.
As a part of transformation of the prison to a school, Prison
Department has initiated a process of structured daily routine.
A Sustained Reformation Process requires a structured approach.
Inmates have been grouped into a Panchayats with each having 15 to
20 members led by a Panchayatdar and a Mentor-Warder. Those inmates
who have attained higher degree of proficiency in certain areas are
also part of specific Panchayats organizing activities. Examples
are Teacher Panchayat, Legal Panchayat, Yoga Panchayat, Mess
Panchayat, Sanitation Panchayat, Cultural Panchayat, etc. This has
inculcated a sense of ownership of the Reforms Initiative.
All inmates have to start the day with Morning Yoga Exercise and
prayer. Once breakfast, bathing etc are over, inmates attend to
their assigned classes from 0830 am. From 09.30 am inmates have
option to attend further classes or to work in various activities
arranged with help of skilled inmates, NGOs or trainers from other
organisations with community involvement. The classes continue in
the afternoon followed by spiritual, cultural and recreational
Programme at 04.30 pm.
The response from inmates and prison officials have
been tremendous. Mobile petition box system introduced indicates
the changing environment. Complaints have given way to request for
programs / training and wage earning work. Inmates find themselves
creatively busy in various activities and have less time for
negative energies. Consequently the burden on Watch and Ward is
also reduced. Colourful paintings on the prison wall have enlivened
the dull atmosphere. Creative artifacts and handicraft products
shows their tremendous potential. Their enthusiasm shows in the
regular meetings conducted by IG Prisons along with Prison
It is heartening to note that many NGOs like
Aurobindo Society, PMSS, Sahaja Yoga, Sharana have come forward to
help Prison Administration in its reformation process. They have
organized wall painting therapy session, sports activities,
workshops on various skills / trades Yoga and spiritual discoursed.
They have helped inmates unleash their positive energy and
Teachers have come forward to take classes for inmates and to train
them in various trades. NGOs have also proposed to start production
units of various handicraft items and innovative products.
Prison Administration has proposed a new brand name “Freedom” and a
new logo for its products.
As a part of reformation process, Prison Department
also ensure that no inmate is confined for want of adequate legal
help. Free legal Aid is provided during routine counseling. The
legal Panchayat consisting of inmates, some of whom are Law
students, helps inmates in understanding the legal process and draft
appropriate petitions. A better understanding of the case helps in
restoring faith of inmates in Judicial process and its fairness
while also securing quick release from prison.
The security aspect cannot be overstressed. By
concentrating on hardcore inmates in a separate process, maintaining
a different routine for them, engaging in individual counseling by
trained experts, the desired security can be achieved. This also
reduces their hold on other inmates. When normal inmates are
involved in an organized leadership efforts / teaching, training,
arranging for sanitation / repair as part of the Panchayat their
self-esteem increases. This makes their less prone to negative
influences of hardcore inmates. The possibility of interaction also
reduces as each and every inmates is engaged in some activities in
the prescribed daily routine
Nevertheless, these hardcore inmates require extra efforts from
prison officials to bring them to reform process. Prison Officials
must remain on guard while dealing with them and not compromise on
safety, security and integrity.
Prison Administration shall also arrange to connect released inmates
with the respective Beat Police. They shall be informed about the
additional skills acquired and find better way to re-integrate in
the society. The trinity of beat police, NGOs and inmates will
create a eco system in which released inmate shall find his respect,
dignity, self esteem and gainful employment away from the path of
Reform process is
continuous and may require course correction to achieve desired
objective of Reformation and re-integration. We shall be open to
feedback and course correction in the reform process,
I hope all Prison Officials and Inmates shall strive to create the
positive environment of reforms and make prison a truly learning
Institution for all stake holders i.e. Inmates / Prison Officials
and the Community / NGOs.
That is the true message of Deepavali.
(Pankaj Kumar Jha)
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