Mangaluru, Feb 17, 2020: For the last 18 months, a group of counsellors are interacting with and counselling undertrials inside the district prison in Mangaluru with an objective of instilling hope and bringing about a positive change in their gbehaviour.
The group is targeting first-time offenders, not habitual offenders, to instil hope and help them lead a better life after their release from prison.
“As the prison crushes their spirit, undertrials need help in adjusting to life inside the prison. Basic mental health issues such as stress, anger management and depression need to be redressed. Some require even medical help to come out of their depression,” informs Counsellor Dr Kusum D’Sa.
“I am one among the group of counsellors conducting counselling sessions in district prisons every week. Art Therapy for inmates also was conducted, she told DH. Besides counselling, we have started a cloth bank for inmates. If they place a demand for a few sets of clothes, we source them from donors. It all began when a woman undertrial confided to me on how she was wearing the same pair of clothes since her arrest a week earlier,” the counsellor
The students of Roshni Nilaya School of Social Work, also assist on counselling undertrials. They visit the houses of inmates and attempt to understand their problems.
If needed, the family members receive counselling from students. Dr Kusum recollected how a boy, arrested for abetting theft, is receiving tuitions from their group. The boy who dropped out from ninth standard will face SSLC examinations and try to clear at least two subjects.
Shusheg Kiran Trust led by Dr Kusum D’Sa had submitted a report to the government highlighting how the majority of inmates were facing mental health issues and thus were in dire need of the services of a psychiatrist.
“Now the services of a psychiatrist of the Government Wenlock Hospital are available every week at the prison,” she informed. “Punishment is not a solution. Bringing reforms in their behaviour is a need of the hour. The undertrial should want being productive,” Dr Kusum stressed.
A seasoned counsellor adds that some drug addicts are beyond reform. In many drug abuse cases, parents are not at fault. It is the drug cartel which first supplies drugs free of cost.
Soon they become drug peddlers and are asked to supply drugs to other students in return for some free drugs. “In many cases, there is no money transaction involved at all,” she reveals.