Social and economic reintegration of prisoners urged

Imran Zakir

KARACHI: Karachi Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized a consultative session with key stakeholders on Support to Young People in Prisons and Under Probation in Sindh Province at a local hotel of Karachi, the participants discussed the challenges and suggested solutions for Social and Economic Rehabilitation for young prisoners.
Shehla Raza Minister for Women Development Sindh Chaired this Consultative session and said that young people after serving the punishment of the crime, have the right to return to adequate standard of living and social and economic development. Public and private sector must join hands to provide state of the art market-oriented training to prisoners along with psychosocial and legal aid to increase the chances of young prisoners’ social and economic reintegration after their release.
Nasir Khan DIG Prisons, Rehabilitation and creational facility Sindh said that lack of opportunities for economic development and the continuous scorn from the employers and their own families, aggravates their trauma and they return towards criminal activities once again; often more extreme and violent compared to their initial crime.
Ms. Shumaila Muzammil Project Manager SPARC says. SPARC will provide market informed livelihood skills training, psychological counseling, and structured family and community reintegration support to young (18-35 years) prisoners in Karachi. Alongside, SPARC will train prisons and probation department staff to institutionalize rehabilitative and youth sensitive prisons and probation systems in Sindh.
Syed Moiz Haider Zaidi UNDP Representative said that SPARCs, Government of Sindh and UNDP Pakistan based on successful model- Youth Employment Project- have initiated, under a novel collaboration a three-year long, Youth Education, Employment & Empowerment Project with the purpose of development and empowerment of youth of Sindh. Project complements UNDP Pakistan and Sindh Education Foundation’s Kamyab Jawan.
Muhammad Kashif Mirza Manager Media and Communication SPARC share presentation. According to official data (December 2020), there are approximately 9640 prisoners in four prisons of Karachi i.e. Central Prison (4,218), District Prison and Correctional Facility, Malir (5,152), Women Prison (134), Youthful Offenders’ Industrial School Karachi (136). Majority of this population consists of under-trial prisoners (80.7%) which includes those who are detained under minor and bailable offences but have to wait due to the long and slow nature of the trial system in Pakistan.
Prof. Dr. Farah Iqbal Head of Phycology Dept Karachi University, Says In-depth Psychosocial support will help the inmate to reduce the volitant thinking. We have to create Employment opportunities to engage our youth in economic activities.
Furthermore, in the session, Ms. Nuhzat Shirin Chairperson Status of Women Commission, Govt must focus on women related cases as once women come out of jail her remaining life becomes difficult and She lives with a stigma as a prisoner while societal acceptance in such cases is not seen.
Ms. Tahira Pecheco from law department Hassan Setho, SSP Central Jail, Malik Aslam SSP Malir Jail, Tariq Khokar Agriculturist, Fuzia Masoom also shared views on economic rehabilitation of young prisoners.

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