Sunday, January 30, 2011

‘Anger, anxiety, and sadness to be eliminated among children of women in prison’

‘‘Anger, anxiety, and sadness to be eliminated among children of women in prison’’-Dr.K.Govindaraju

Vellore-Jan 28:‘‘Anger, anxiety, and sadness to be eliminated among children of women in prison’’ said Dr.K.Govindaraju, Founder Director of SEVAI, Thichy. He was Chairing the second session of workshop on ‘Social work intervention in prisons: Role of NGOs and scope of collaboration with Prison Departments,' organised by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, and the Academy of Prisons and Correctional Administration (APCA) on the APCA campus here on Friday with a specific theme of Working with Children of Prisoners inside prison and left outside. Dr.K.Govindaraju added that the children of prisoners are often faced with an uphill struggle in life because of circumstances beyond their control. The stigma and mental anguish a child faces when a parent is imprisoned. A growing number of kids are suffering the anguish and pain of separation from their mothers by jail and prison walls. These interventions come at a time when the number of affected children is growing rapidly but there's little quantitative knowledge about them, says K.Govindaraju."What we do know is that many of these children are at high risk for second-generation imprisonment," K.Govindaraju adds. "For parents who are in or have left prison, we need more community-based treatment programs, better treatment programs for those addicted to alcohol, and more efforts that focus on rehabilitation instead of punishment. We also need effective therapy programs for the children themselves."It is estimated that there is a constant number of significant alarming number of children of prison inmates. SEVAI with partnership with SWB/FdnF has designed a powerful program to serve children of prison inmates in Trichy central women prison, conduting crèche for 0-3, age group and 3-6 age groups. Children of prison inmates, for a variety of societal and economic reasons, are at extremely high risk of growing up with low literacy skills.

Dr.K.Govindaraju said that his experiences working for prison inmates and their family members and their children both inside/outside, he stressed the need for the core activities of social workers in prisons include, assessment- of risk and dangerousness to self and others, personal and social need, and re-offending risk in conjunction with other professionals; contributing a distinctive social work perspective to the strategic planning of the establishment including programme planning;. liaison with, and consultancy for, prison staff and managers, including the provision of specific training programmes where required; and with prisoners' families and other social supports, including through community based social workers, to reduce the risk of re-offending on release and to assist reintegration within the community. ‘Social workers must make use of an induction period to inform prisoners about social work services. Information can be conveyed in a variety of ways, including service description leaflets, video presentations and individual interviews. Social workers should also ensure that information about complaints procedures are available to prisoners’, said Dr.K.Govindaraju.

Earlier Additional Director General of Police (Prisons), Tamil Nadu, J.K. Tripathy said that community colleges had been started in all the central prisons in Tamil Nadu with the objective of providing rehabilitation to the prison inmates through various activities including the education of the inmates, especially their professional education towards better employability. The Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) also said that the NGO activities should be planned in such a way that they were conducive to the mental peace and stability of the inmates. Kuchanna Srinivasan, ADGP (Prisons), Karnataka said that the implementation of prison reforms, especially the schemes for rehabilitation of the inmates will not be successful unless the prison administrators understand the crux of the problems faced by the inmates.M.R. Ahmed, Director, APCA, said that the gap between the prison officials and the prison inmates could be bridged only by initiating dialogue through community participation. Prisons are an extension of society. Therefore, the problems within the prisons cannot be addressed in a meaningful way if the community is not involved with the prison administration. The APCA Director said that the National Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders was running a number of hostels where released offenders are accommodated till they are accepted by their families. Ms. Devayani Tumma, Sr. Social Worker, Prayas, Mr. Joseph Mathew, Corrections India, Kottayam, Pampadi, and Kerala.Sr.Leena from Andrapradesh also spoke. It is first of its kind workshop organized for NGOs and Prison authorities of South India.

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