BENGALURU: To improve the mental health of prison staff and prisoners and help them de-stress, the Department of Prison and Correctional Services has imparted yoga training to 600 staffers in the Bengaluru Central Prison. The two-week yoga sessions were held earlier this month.
“We will hold similar yoga sessions for the rest of our staff across Karnataka,” said Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services Alok Mohan. He added that after being trained, the staffers will conduct yoga sessions for the prison inmates.
“There are 15,000 prisoners lodged in prisons across the state. We would like to hold yoga classes for them to help them de-stress and build a positive attitude towards life. Yoga is good for mental and physical health,” said Mohan. The yoga sessions for the prison staff are being held by the Art of Living (AoL) and other voluntary organisations, he added.
Besides yoga, the department is also working on formulating various skill development programmes for the prisoners, informed the prison chief. “We are coming out with skill development modules for our inmates to help them develop creative and vocational skills so that they become productive while serving their prison sentence and after they are released. They should go out with a skill in hand to become economically and socially relevant,” he noted.
Over the years, the concept of incarceration and how the prisons should be treated has changed, from prisons to correctional and reform centres. In July 2019, the Karnataka government had re-designated the name of the Department of Prison as ‘Department of Prisons and Correctional Services’ in the light of a Supreme Court order on prison reforms based on public interest litigation (PIL).
The apex court, while issuing several directives to all the state governments on prison reforms, had emphasised that while there could be restrictions, as sanctioned by law, on an incarcerated person, there should not be any infringement on fundamental rights which are guaranteed under Article 21. A majority of jail inmates are undertrial prisoners (UTPs), who end up spending three-fourths of their lives behind bars.