The Telangana Prisons Department has decided to segregate inmates convicted of rape and put them through psychiatric evaluation and counselling.
Director General of Prisons V K Singh said segregating the rape convicts is the first stage of the new initiative. “Rapists are perverts and they must be made to realise that their crime is different and more heinous than the rest and, therefore, they need to be kept separately. In the existing set-up, rapists are confined alongside murderers, dacoits, and Naxalites and I think they feel their crime is just like a murder or a robbery. They do not realise the seriousness of their crime. They must be made to feel that their crime is more heinous and abhorrent than anything else,” he told The Indian Express.
Those convicted to raping children have perverted minds and they need to be evaluated psychologically to know what is their problem,’’ Singh added.
Stating that the prisons department has started the process of finding out the number of inmates convicted to rape in the state’s prisons, Singh said that after segregating them, a team of psychiatrists and psychologists led by Dr C Beena, retired head of the department of psychology, Osmania University, will start a counselling programme. Besides convicts, undertrials in different jails in the state will be covered under the programme.
“After serving the time in prison, if a rapist is released into the society just like that, he will continue to commit the crime because he is a pervert. He continues to be a threat. Our team of psychologists and psychiatrists will evaluate them and provide special counselling so that they come out of that pervert mindset. When a rapist is released after he has served his time, we will keep a tab on him and maybe help in his rehabilitation,’’ Singh said.
The prisons department has hired psychiatrists for all prisons in the state. The department pays the psychiatrists from income generated by the prisons’ stores. Singh said it will take some time to work out the modalities for the programme and to put it into motion. This will be one of the many initiatives of Telangana Prisons Department to reform undertrials and convicts. Unnati, a programme launched in 2015 to prevent recidivism, has been successful, said officials. Nearly 3,000 repeat offenders were put through this programme and more than 80 per cent did not return to prison again, they added.