The number of suicide cases among inmates in Tihar jail has reduced significantly due to counselling provided by professional mental health experts as part of 'Project Samarthan' launched last year, officials claimed Tuesday.
As many as 7,000 inmates were provided counselling as part of the project which was launched by the prison administration in April last year with an aim to reduce suicide cases.
"One year of Project Samarthan has shown encouraging results. There is a significant reduction in number of violent incidents reported amongst inmates. Cases of misconduct involving jail punishments have decreased and suicide in prisons have reduced significantly.
The officer said maintaining a safe and dignified custody of inmates in the face of over-crowding, under-staffing, mental stress and depression holds a tremendous challenge to the prison administration.
"Whenever we interact with inmates, we feel a sense of hopelessness, loss of purpose and resignation to the circumstances among them and it is very difficult to articulate," he said.
"Overcrowding, lack of privacy, lack of meaningful activities, forced solicitude, various forms of violence, insecure future prospects and inadequate health services lead to the mental illness," said Delhi High Court judge Mukta Gupta who was an invitee at the event.
"We need to listen them whether you are a counsellor, prison authority, judge or legal aid lawyer. By listening them, we can solve most of their problems. There should be some more caring personalities in the jail," she said.
"Suicides occur as prisoners face depression after entering jail," he said, adding the project must be continued to make the Delhi prisons "a zero suicide" jail.
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