No psychologists in Telangana jails

Jails not equipped to handle prisoners’ issues
Hyderabad: Two suicides in two consecutive days at the Cherlapally Central Prison in Hyderabad have once again brought the issue of deaths of prisoners in Telangana to the fore. TS prison deaths has remained one of the biggest problems to be tackled by the department and the death rate has remained in the top slot at the national level.
“The central prisons have not had psychologists for nearly a decade now. It is a serious handicap as we aren’t equipped to understand depression and mental illness,” said sources in the Cherlapally jail.
“A lot of issues faced by the prisoners are ‘psychological’ as they are ‘confined’,” said the sources. Cherlapally prison sources have said life convict Shiva Kumar committed suicide due to “psychological issues”. Shekar, who died on Monday, had consumed phenol because “smoking and gutka were banned in prison and he wanted to pressurise authorities.” Reportedly, even the doctors who were treating Shiva Kumar, another convict who ended his life on Sunday, weren’t able to understand why he took this step.
“Someone who has been sentenced for life can’t be cheerful. What we have observed is that the people of AP and Telangana are more prone to stress and strain and are more sensitive,” said Telangana director general of prisons V.K. Singh.
Although a pilot project has been started to address the psychological problems of the prisoners in Chanchalguda, it caters to only a small number of prisoners, that too at one prison.
The government-sanctioned post is a “contractual psychologist” and the salary is quite low. Officials said it is tough to find people to work at that salary and also, the procedure is complicated.
“We are trying to find someone from private organisations. We know that the death rate in the state is among the highest in the country and have to think of something beyond the regular to counter this,” said Mr V.K. Singh.
( Source : dc )
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