Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
Kiran Bedi, Joint Commissioner of Police (TRG), New Delhi, at the Madras School of Social Work in Chennai on Monday. Photo: S. Mahinsha
Isolated programmes for development of jail inmates as was in practice in jails not only in the country, but throughout the world, would not deliver the desired results. The "3 Cs model'' for prison management-collective, corrective and community-based prison management, which was simple and effective, was utmost essential. Even if one `C' was removed, the objective of holistic correction could not be achieved. ``There is a need for a determination to manage, integrity and a very collective functioning''. She emphasised that education formed the basis of any reforms programme. She recalled how during her tenure as the Inspector-General of Prison, Tihar Jail, 100 per cent literacy was achieved without any cost. With no dearth of non-governmental organisations, she said that recognised voluntary organisations and retired teachers could be allowed entry to take up the task of imparting education to prisoners. ``If you bring in NGOs, there is a public vigil''. To begin with, functional literacy could be imparted and later prisoners encouraged to take up secondary education and higher studies. Ms.Bedi, the winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, was delivering the ``Mary Clubwala Jadhav Seventh Memorial Endowment Lecture'' on ``prison reforms'' at the Madras School of Social Work here.
With the help of an hour-long video film on the transformation of Tihar jail, she explained how the `Vipassana' meditation sessions introduced for prisoners, ``repaired their minds'', helped remove their negative memories and transform themselves to lead a better life. Even a `Vipassana centre' was organised and the programme still continued. Simultaneously, as time inside the prison was precious, it was value-added by enabling the prisoners to learn academics, provide counselling, introspection and to make prisoners stand on their own through self-employment.
Later talking to newspersons, she said the meditation programme had a good impact on prisoners. Even a Norwegian inmate, who was charged under the NDPS Act, had himself written a letter to her as to how he was benefited. Such was the impact that he himself pleaded guilty before the Judge in the case.
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