Hate the crime not the criminal ~ Mahatma Gandhi
WHY THE CONCEPT OF PRISONS EXIST?
Every individual in the society holds several rights within, which when infringed or tried to be non complied with by anybody, the person so acting is deprived of his claim of right with punishment, according to the category and degree of the act/omission. Further, the concept of prisons exists on a note, to successfully deviate the conferred liability of punishment. However, Prison system is generally believed to dislocate offender and confine for the prevention of future casualties, Many experts also believe that the main objective of prisons system to be adopted was for the offenders to rehabilitate, deter, incapacitate, and retribute to provide a justice to society and the offender himself, by providing with a chance to reform and Develop into an individual “Able to hail” back to the society.
PRISON REFORMS: STEPS
With the help of NGOs, the Government and authorities regularly organize various workshops to bring reforms in the current prison systems after analysing the complaints of inmates compared with situations, which vary from issues related to education, mental Health , facilities, sanitization, quality and quantity of food and other basic rights.
The inmates are provided with training in carpentry and fabric painting with also initiated programs for Women empowerment specifically by training them in weaving, embroidery, crochet, making toys, stitching etc. of which Wage earning, gratuity schemes and incentives are the objectives to reduce the psychological burden on the convicts and being in captivity still make them feel free economically, and by providing with tasks for accomplishment to have their potentials checked which helps in diversion of mind, creativity and increase in confidence.
Moreover, with various seminars that the jail authorities organise have also been reported a great success in enlightening the prisoners on their legal rights, health and sanitation problems, HIV/AIDS and issues of mental health, juveniles and their rights, minorities and steps to reduce the stress which leads to violence amongst them.
Great initiatives as “Open prison system” come as a modern rescue dynamic alternative to the system of closed imprisonment which helps the prisoners to explore being confined on the one hand, on the other helps the jail authorities to tackle with every individual easily, provided the decrease in aggressive behaviour of inmates. Talking about reforms, replacing open Prison system with closed imprisonment system can fetch a major change in the penal system of India, with closed imprisonment to be reserved only for hardcore criminals.
Going by the records, from Women inmates to Juveniles , from elderly to adults , a spike was recorded since the last decade in enrollment into various courses from 10th to 12th, IGNOU, UGC and regular college courses as B.A. ,B.COM etc.
However, not entirely do the reforms are implemented yet, surely there exists some loopholes creating a maniac distancing the inmates with not only society but with themselves. For an individual to realise they need to change there has to be positivity all around. Compression of a mental state by penalizing completely can only present aggressive behaviour as an outcome making it negative for the society and worst for the individuals. If penalizing was the only objective, jails would be full of people committing similar act but with different situations. Indian penal code,1860 focuses on words as Intention, faith, will to try understanding the situation which an individual faced. With every convict the situations are different and so should the surroundings be.
Government along with prison administration and NGO’s should follow adequate measures for effective Personalization of prisons with although a uniform jail manual drafted throughout the country but with categories of prisons. Not every individual commits crime intentionally. Everyone should be provided with chances to reverse their personality into a responsible one towards the society, which is what reformation of individual is all about lastly.
PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF PRISON CONFINEMENT:
Regular inspection and crude usage out of an individual’s capacity can only lead the poor situations to betterment, for the individuals to be not treated as penalized confined objects but living beings. The situations as such can dreadfully rot the criminal justice framework , which affects the structure of democracy, psychological condition of the Individual (prisoner). The confinement with no adequate means of rehabilitation also cause adverse psychological effects such as depression, claustrophobia, anxiety and panic attacks, stress making the prisoner more vulnerable than before to criminal penchant eliminating the hope for them to avail chance for their change of live status. Further having the prisoner transformed into much more devastated state leaving Prison than he was ever before.
PRISON SYSTEM: NETHERLANDS VS INDIA
With the continuous news of government of Netherlands closing prisons one after the other because allegedly there’s no one to keep inside with records showing only 50-60 prisoners per 100,000 of the population. Turning the prisons into Universities, luxury hotels, museums and refugee housings the Dutch government surely is sending high attentive messages to the world for reforms in developing the self awareness mentality in the Convicts themselves.
A report shows how : “By offering special rehabilitation to people with mental illnesses, the Dutch justice system is cutting the jail population. This system is based on prevention and understanding rather than punishment. People committing crimes often face fines and/or are forced to attend psychological rehabilitation programs. Jail times simply being reduced after long jail sentences were proven to be ineffective”.
“These new measures are called alternative sentences and are based on the idea that criminals must be treated like human beings that can still be helpful for society after rehabilitation. In the words psychologist Miriam van Driel: “The way you treat people — also in prison — makes a big difference in how they return to society. If you treat them like dogs, people will behave like dogs but if you treat them as human beings, they will behave like human beings.”
Compared to the third most developed and safest prison system country “Netherlands” , the scenario in india is a little difference. The varying doesn’t entirely lies on the failure of structure but population, ideology of nation as whole , political will and other criterias as well. The legal system of India although is based on non-violence and reformation. With 30 prisoners per 100,000 citizens, the problem lies with the increasing crime rate, no flexible structure for prisons, no personalization of prisons, barriers in implementation of the reforms etc.
Safeguards as provided by The Constitution of India ( Article 14,21 etc) and Prison Act, 1894, “Any excess treatment that is committed to a prisoner by the Police would attract the wrath of the legislature and the judiciary”. Therefore, the Indian Judiciary especially the Supreme Court has been increasingly efficient and vigilant against possible encroachments on the rights of the prisoners but complete success in shifting the reality to having the jail mechanism a positive rehabilitation inclusive of minute offenders to hardcore criminals, still needs to be worked on with emphasis over personalisation and how can the best outcome of the potential a person holds individually be exhausted.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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