THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Prisons Department will appoint clinical psychologists and councilors to address underlying mental issues of inmates who have been arrested under the Pocso Act. The decision in this regard was taken based on the observation that psychological perversions in such people develop due to a perception that they were not committing a crime and there were chances that the inmates would repeat the offense after their release.
The Home Department in its recent order has said the service of psychologists and councillors will be provided on a contractual basis to rectify the anomalies in the accused persons’ behaviour. In the first phase, clinical psychologists will be deployed in three central prisons at Thiruvananthapuram, Viyyur and Kannur. Subsequently, councilors will be deployed in all other prisons that house upto 250 inmates.
The Prisons Director General had earlier written to the government seeking the service of councillors and psychologists to tend to those who were imprisoned for perpetrating sexual abuse on minors. Studies have revealed that the perpetrators, in several cases of child abuse, had psychatric and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders. Also, majority of the offenders suffered from depression and mental stress.
However, their psychiatric, psychosocial and medical history were seldom assessed. These lacunae hampered providing effective medical and phsycological treatment to the offenders. Sources with the Home Department said the prisons manual has suggested provision of psychological support to inmates and this is another reason why the psychologists were being appointed. The services are also available to the other inmates, the sources said.