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Advice on life after jail

Jorhat, Dec. 10: Dispur is planning to offer pre-release counsellings to convicts prior to the completion of his/her sentence for a “smooth return” and readjustment of the prisoner in his/her family and society.

As part of the corrective reforms to be initiated for the convicts, the government is planning to issue certificates of conduct and vocational proficiency (if any) during the period of his/her stay in jail.

Both the provisions will be part of a broad-based prison rules to be framed by the government soon in order to amend Assam Jail Manual. It has to be done to implement Assam Prisons Act, 2013, which was enacted this year.

Assam inspector-general of prisons, P.P. Baruah, told The Telegraph that as part of the measures planned for rehabilitation and to develop social relations of convicts who will be leaving jail after completion of their sentences, pre-release counselling would be given. “The aim is to offer guidance to a convict — who has spent a considerable amount of time detached from society — to rejoin his family and society smoothly so that the prisoner does not feel uncomfortable and think again of returning to the path of crime,” Baruah said.

He added that counselling by trained persons involved in social welfare activities and also by psychologists would be part of the initiative.

Baruah said an NGO or any kind of organisation or agency too could be involved in the project to encourage the prisoners for their successful rehabilitation.

The IG said a proper plan for pre-release counselling for rehabilitation of convicts by clearly spelling out the details about assigning of responsibilities to officials for implementing the same would be prepared by a committee.

He said a state-level committee to be headed by a retired prison official would include persons involved in welfare work and in legal matters. It will be constituted to frame the rules for amending the state prison manual.

Baruah said copies of the new prison act had been sent to all prisons, police, legal service authorities, related welfare departments of the government and organisations involved in social work, to get their opinions to effectively implement the act in letter and spirit.

The committee will incorporate all suggestions it deems necessary to be included in the rules. The IG said another provision to be included in the rules is to issue a certificate at the time of release to the prisoner stating about the conduct and vocational proficiency (if any) during the period of his/her stay in jail.

“This move has been aimed to assist the convict to make him employable,” Baruah said. He said offering of possible material and minimum financial aid to the released prisoners is mentioned in the new act.

He said how self-employment schemes could be offered to prisoners at the time of their release would have to be worked out.

Baruah said there are some government departments which offer guidance and run schemes for self-employment that could be engaged to help the released convicts for economic rehabilitation.

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