Women in Prison Administration (What are the concerns? (All this,…
Women in Prison Administration
Percentage of women in police service in general and prison management in particular has steadily been
raising over the years.
While this is a healthy trend, there are also numerous challenges.
What are the wider implications?
A larger percentage of women will increase the accessibility of the police to women.
Women police are being involved almost all kinds of policing duties like regulating traffic, managing control rooms, PCR vans.
In some cases they also conduct night rounds and investigating serious crimes and supervise large bandobasts
All this would have a large psychological impact that potentially would push the debate on women
empowerment to a higher track.
What are the concerns?
Numbers - Their presence in prisons is gradually increasing.
Many states like Maharashtra now have 33% reservation for women in prison administration.
Their increased number means that they are assigned duties in male prisons too.
- Most prison superintendents are however apprehensive of having women staff.
Prison staffs are steeped in a male-dominated culture that has developed over time.
The security of prisons and counting of prisoners is thought to be their main occupation.
All this, compounded by the belief that prisons are places for criminals that pose an inherent threat to the society makes it an uphill task for women to assimilate into.
Training - The Bureau of Police Research and Development has been tasked to revise the existing syllabi for the training of prison officers/staff.
After basic training during induction, there is hardly any in-service training currently.
Training at regular intervals, linking it with promotions and updating technical knowledge deserve attention.
There is a strong need for reorientational training towards correctional administration.
Besides, prison staff need to veer towards an attitude of reformation and rehabilitation shifting focus from the
current punitive attitude.
Other issues in prison administration?
Prisons in most metros and district headquarters are overcrowded.
This is bound to have an adverse effects on the hygiene and health of prisoners and the staff on duty, that is visible now.
As security risks in such cases is also enormous, relieving even one staff member for in-service training appears to be a luxury.
Thus, besides regular training, filling the around 34% vacancies in prisons currently needs immediate attention.
How can women specific issues be addressed?
Prison administration needs to get its officers and staff in sync with the culture of gender equality, respect and
Women come with their certain specific strengths that is usually found to be lacking in men and this needs to
Notably, they are intuitively found to herald a shift in favour of a correctional administration instead of the
traditional punitive mindset which is a big plus with regard to prisons.
Women officers working in the pathetic prison conditions have the extra burden of traditional family
responsibilities their problems need to be studied further and acted upon.
A continued dialogue about problems and possible solutions can greatly help women in prison administration reach their potential.