ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Vocational Training in Indian Prisons

The vocational training programmes offered in Indian prisons with the intention of rehabilitating offenders are not only supposed to train prisoners in vocational knowledge and skills, but also strengthen their will to work, sense of self-help, and spirit of cooperation by having them work with others in a regulated environment. However, with the criminal justice system laying undue emphasis on the incarceration of criminals alone, the goals of reformation and rehabilitation of lawbreakers get undermined.

A prison is an institution that houses individuals who are apprehended for being “in conflict with the law.” In the Indian criminal justice system, imprisonment is aimed at correction, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into society, and vocational training and prison labour form a part of rehabilitative practices followed in Indian jails.

Labour and punishment have always gone hand-in-hand in the context of prisons from time immemorial. The history of prison labour could be traced to the bridewells1 and workhouses2 that existed between the 16th and 18th centuries in England (Matthews 1999). Prisons were considered as places for punishment, and hard labour was an integral component of imprisonment to penalise the offender. But, when the philosophy of punishment gave way to that of correction and rehabilitation, prison labour transformed into “vocational training” and “prison workshops.”

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Updated On : 23rd Apr, 2018

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