Written By: Shajeeda Tajdeen
The main objective behind putting a person behind bars is to stop and prevent him from indulging into illegal and criminal activities and also to make him a better person so as to meet the needs and demand of the society. Basically, the ultimate goal of prison and correctional administration is to rehabilitate the prisoners in the mainstream of the society.
Thus the aftercare process plays a vital role in reducing the social isolation and dependence faced by an offender once he is out of the prison. It creates a base for the offender to start his new life with a new hope because the stigma that an offender faces after coming out from the prison if not eradicated or not treated properly can put the offender’s present and future at stake.
No doubt prisons are considered to be the most useful institution of correctional administration but their scope is only limited to the four walls and behind the bars in the jail. The moment an offender is released, he has to face the world at large, where he is seen with suspicion and his behavior is questioned at every step, so it becomes really difficult for him to move ahead in his life due to lack of moral, social and economic support.
A person who is released from the prison needs physical and emotional support and he should also be counseled for acquiring a positive approach towards life because imprisonments cause shock, demoralization, dismemberment to him and his family.
On the other hand, the situation and the surrounding in jails are not totally suitable for rehabilitation process due to various hurdles such as:
- There is no check on custodial torture in prisons
- There are no vocational training programs to train the poor, illiterate and unskilled population in the prisons.
- The prisons in India lack infra-structural facilities, cleanliness and hygienic environment.
- There is no proper method for classifying the prisoners, convicts of civil, criminal and heinous crimes all are mostly kept in the same jails.
The Apex Court has also issued guidelines with respect to the self-improvement and correctional therapy used in prisons by majorly emphasizing on three points.
- A person in custody does not become a ‘non-person’.
- That a prisoner is entitled to human rights within limitations of imprisonment.
- There is no justification for aggravating the sufferings of prisoners during the period of imprisonment.
The aftercare or rehabilitation program should include providing employment, providing adequate training to skilled labor and manpower, financial support to start their life or for self-employment, providing them with shelters etc.
It is the duty of the government and the system to take care of its citizen and to provide them with adequate means which are necessary for their survival. But the major problem in India is that the Government believes and follows the rule that by merely putting a convict or an accused behind bars it has fulfilled its task of saving the society and curbing the crime. It fails to realize that many times poverty and lack of facilities and non-acceptance from the fellow members of the society sow seeds of crime and negativity in an individual.
Rehabilitation should be considered as understanding the needs of those who are going to face the unkind and unsophisticated world outside.
Edited By: Gaurav Agarwal