This is the first time in India that a program to help convicts to deal with their lives after release has been introduced

Karnataka Police are helping these convicts prepare for life after prison
news Criminal Justice Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 20:29

On the occasion for Republic Day the Karnataka government will release 240 convicts for good conduct. But in a possibly unprecedented move, the government has tied up with an NGO to help them reintegrate with society after spending years locked up.

Senior police officers in the Prisons Department told The News Minute that the government had invoked powers under Section 432 of the Criminal Procedure Code to release 240 convicts serving life sentences. 

Through a programme called Roopantara, the Prisons Department has tied up with an NGO to help the convicts cope with the changes in the world while they were locked up. 

“This is the first time in India that a program to help convicts to deal with their lives after release has been introduced,” said a senior officer requesting anonymity. He said that the sentences of around 80 prisoners from the Bengaluru Central Prison in Parappana Agrahara were to be remitted. 

They would receive help from NGO Peacemakers. 

“This programme is framed with the perspective of the prisoners’ mental health. We will ascertain their capabilities to interact with other human beings, especially their families. Since they have been isolated for so many years from the world, they are being informed about malls, luxury buses, cars and all things that are new in the outside world to help them cope with the change,” said Rabbi Jayakaran, trustee, Peacemakers.

The prisoners will be allowed to interact and try to reconnect with their family members. Based on their religious/spiritual beliefs, they will be allowed to interact with a religious/spiritual guidance counsellor as well, the police officer said. 

“When prisoners come out, they often face rejection, which leads to depression and possibly suicide. We help prepare them for what they might face in the world outside and also take note of their fears. Information on those who visit the prisoners, their relationship with them, if they are family members, and so on are noted down so that we can help connect them,” Jayakaran said.

Roopantara will also help these prisoners with livelihood options based on their interests and skills upon their release.

“If the prisoner was a farmer and is still interested in farming, we contact the agriculture and rural development department and ask them if they can help train the person. One of the prisoners, during a profiling interview said that he is interested in carpentry. We try to look for someone who will hire and help train him,” Jayakaran said.


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