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APCA to study stigma faced by released women convicts

18-month-long survey will be held in Tamil Nadu and 11 other states

APCA to study stigma faced by released women convicts

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CHENNAI: To understand the stigma and discrimination faced by released women prisoners and their children, the Academy of Prisons and Correctional Administration (APCA) will soon take up a study in Tamil Nadu and 11 other states in the country.

The study, on finding out the factors leading to stigma and victimisation, is aimed at helping the Union Minister of Home Affairs (MHA) to frame policy to counter stigmatisation and victimisation of released women prisoners, the most neglected section in correctional administration and their children.

The Bureau of Police Research and Development of the MHA entered a MoU with APCA to take up the 18-month-long study to come up with recommendations to bring necessary changes in the existing schemes and frame new policy to reduce stigmatisation of the released women prisoners and their children.

It is also aimed at capturing the best practices in force at the national and international level to counter the victimisation among the targeted group.

The sample size is 1,440, including women prisoners and released prisoners with children. The team headed by project director of the research study and professor of APCA Prof Beulah Emmanuel would also interview civil organisations involved in rehabilitation of released women prisoners, probation officers, prison staff and other stakeholders.

“This is the first such study taken up focusing on released women prisoners, who are facing innumerable societal problems.

We will meet the released women prisoners and other stakeholders to come up with solutions and recommendations for the MHA to frame better policy to reduce social stigma and victimisation of women prisoners and their children,” said Beulah Emmanuel.

In fact, they were the most neglected among the inmates. The number of women prisoners, seeking their entitled ordinary and emergency leaves (parole) are insignificant in numbers compared to the male prisoners as most of their families disown them and stop visiting them for decades. Many of them have no place to go after their release.

“Many of the women prisoners were incarcerated for murder of their spouse over family issues or affairs. Once they enter the prison, it is the end of their normal life as society denies them a second chance, while their children face social stigma that leaves a lifelong scar.

The study should focus on finding remedy for these social malaise and stigma,” said activist KR Raja, who extends legal support to prisoners and financial support to their children to pursue studies.

Raja also pointed out that the study should not end up like yet another exercise that fails to transform into action.

“The recommendation of the study should be implemented effectively to bring a positive change in the lives of the women prisoners and their families,” he added.

Shanmugha Sundaram J
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