KOCHI: The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KeSCPCR) has directed the state government to take a favorable decision on the rehabilitation of children of woman prisoners, who are aged six or above. It has also asked the government to appoint regular teachers at the pre-primary level in jails to ensure proper education for the children.
The move came after a recent study by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) found that children of woman prisoners were bullied, lacked proper access to education, and had irregular meetings with their mothers, besides facing many other problems.
The survey found that children of prison inmates faced many challenges when it came to education. However, the KeSCPCR highlighted the educational status of children of woman prisoners in Kerala was quite satisfactory. “No instance of bullying or irregular meetings with mothers was reported in the state.
We have submitted a report to the state government regarding ways to improve and listing out more steps that can be taken for the welfare of children of woman prisoners. Appointment of permanent teachers at the pre-primary level has been recommended in the jails. At present, there are no regular teachers in jails, which is affecting the education of children,” said K Nazeer, a commission member.
Another recommendation of the commission was to rehabilitate the children of woman prisoners who are six years old or above by either putting them in children’s homes or other institutions of care. It also asked that woman convicts be given parole to mingle with their children.
“The state has around 120 woman inmates in its jails. Currently, less than 20 woman convicts are living with their minor children in prisons. Since there are chances that children born in prisons may face severe highly stigma, the child rights panel has also recommended changing the place of birth of the children to that of child care institutions or homes,” said the child rights commission member.
The study done in Kerala in 2016
Nazeer had carried out a similar study in 2016 on the social well-being of children of woman prisoners in the state. “The study was based on the case R D Upadhyaya Vs State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors on 13 April, 2006, where the Supreme Court had issued guidelines for providing various facilities to the children of woman prisoners and asked the states to implement the said guidelines and make arrangements for food, shelter, medical care, clothing, education and recreation facilities as a matter of right,” Nazeer said.
144 responses collected
58 collected from woman prisoners living with their children between the age of 3 and 5
35 from children between the age of six and 18 years living in children’s homes and hostels
26 from superintendents of children’s homes and hostels
17 from heads of schools
8 from prison officials
Less than 30 children are living with mothers in jail
COURTESY – THE INDIAN EXPRESS