The Tata Institute of Social Sciences has started a novel initiative to help undertrials learn a vocation while in jail.
The Tata Institute of Social Sciences has started a novel initiative to help undertrials learn a vocation while in jail. According to the institute, the initiative, titled Prayas, will not only help the inmates bide their time but also teach them a vocation that they can pursue as a source of income after they are freed. The courses will be held at Mumbai Central, Byculla, Thane and Taloja prisons.
Elaborating on the initiative, professor Vijay Raghavan, project director, Prayas, said, “Prisoners go through tremendous psychological trauma when they are behind bars. This duration is very critical for them as they are surrounded with various negative thoughts. In order to help them to overcome the trauma, constant engagement and dialogue with them is needed. To ensure prisoners’ well being, the prison department tries to involve them in various activities. The NGOs presented ideas to help prisoners in engaging in vocational activities in collaboration with government agencies to enhance their skills”.
Mr Raghavan said a workshop was held on April 27 in this connection. Representatives from over 40 NGOs, delegates from Ministry of Labour and Employment, National Urban Livelihood Mission, Khadi and Village Industries Commission and Jan Shikshan Sansthan, and jail staff from Mumbai Central, Byculla, Thane and Taloja prisons participated in the workshop, he said. Mr Raghavan added that inmates would be offered two short-term courses at the workshop. “On completion of the courses the inmates will be given a certificate that will facilitate better access to livelihood skills that they can use after being released,” he said.
A similar initiative has been started in Gujarat by another social organisation wherein inmates of various jails are involved in cooking and preparing meals for jail inmates as well as for outsiders on a daily basis. The organisation also works to rehabilitate these trained cooks by providing them jobs in restaurants after their release.