R. Priya, a visually challenged girl of V.V.V. College for Women in Virudhunagar, had an unusual project in mind for her M.Phil dissertation – ‘Rehabilitation programme for women at the Vellore special prison.’
In a rare gesture, the Prison Department permitted Ms. Priya to interview 50 of the 72 convicts lodged in the special prison. Many of them were serving a life sentence.
“They were very kind to me and answered all my questions. Besides the rehabilitation aspects, I focussed on their socio-economic background. Almost all the women inmates are illiterates and hail from a rural background,” Ms. Priya says.
According to her, many women prisoners confessed that they committed crimes because they were left with no option. “Harassment by drunken husbands and extramarital affairs are common reasons for their taking the extreme step. There are some aged women convicted for female infanticide and dowry deaths.”
A majority of the inmates expressed satisfaction over the facilities at the prison. However, some opined that vocational courses such as tape and thread making were decades-old employment schemes introduced during the British regime. Such skills would not fetch employment on release. They wanted better income-generating programmes, the girl quoted the prisoners as saying.
This was not the first venture of Ms. Priya. When she was a post graduation student in a Madurai college, she did a project on the life convicts in Madurai central prison. Her father runs a tea shop at Anna Nagar, Madurai. “I want to do Ph.D based on the living conditions of prisoners in Tamil Nadu and recommend measures that will make their life easy,” she added.
Director-General of Prisons R. Natraj said the student’s request for project work in the Special Prison for Women in Vellore was considered as a special case. She showed keen interest in understanding the life of women convicts, he added.
ref : the hindu