Jails are abode of reforms. But, when an undertrial slits a person’s throat and manages to mastermind a jailbreak, there is something wrong with his reformation.
There have been rounds of discussions over what might be the level of frustration and agony that the eight alleged SIMI operatives decided to murder an elderly warder at the Bhopal Central Jail in a barbaric manner.
“It’s not for the first time, anything like this has happened. But it is in our hands to curb these incidents. Concepts like psychoanalysis have been existing for decades in countries like the USA. In India, we are talking about skill development programmes, sports, yoga and meditation but little do we realise that they are mere distractions. These things can keep prisoners engaged for some time but not change their thought-process,” says Dr Vinay Mishra, senior psychologist.
What might be the SIMI men thinking while they were escaping? “They had blood on their minds,” says Dr Mishra.
“They had broken laws before and they knew they are doing wrong again. But there is no one to correct them. Everybody knows how jailors and policemen deal with prisoners who are already of twisted psychology. May be the escapees also had some grudge against the killed policeman,” he says.
The psychologist said training programmes in police department should be taken seriously.
“Secondly, regular counselling and psychoanalysis sessions with prisoners should be done in jails and be reviewed,” he says.
Dr Vaibhav Dubey, a psychiatrist, is of opinion that there is a social stigma connected to hard-core criminals and people should stop generalising it.
“Not all criminals are mentally ill. In fact, criminals are very intelligent and so are escapees. They plan and then execute. The only thing is their brain strength is channelised in a wrong direction. And to control that, we need more therapists dealing with criminals on regular basis,” says Dr Dubey.
“Irony is that we have one psychiatrist for every 3 lakh people in India, which is not sufficient,” he says.
Director general (jail) Sanjay Choudhary said, “We will review the prison welfare policy and make immediate amendments as needed.”
“This issue needs to be addressed on much basic level. Education has a big part to play. Regular brain-storming sessions should be done in schools,” said Dr Vaibhav.