Social Isolation Sends Ex-Convicts Back to Prison

Social Isolation Sends Ex-Convicts Back to PrisonSocial Isolation Sends Ex-Convicts Back to Prison

One main reason why ex-convicts return to prison is their rejection by the people and the community, said Elham Aminzadeh, lawmaker and vice-president for legal affairs.

“People’s awareness should be raised about the fact that every prisoner after being released can start life all over again, and should be accepted by society,” IRNA quoted her as saying.

She pointed to her recent visit to Shahre Ray Women Penitentiary where, she said, there are about 1000 women inmates, and “I had the opportunity to observe their conditions closely; and ask them after completing their prison sentence and upon release, how they would rejoin the community.” These individuals like other citizens have rights after their release, she stressed.

“I also observed that they are being trained in different vocations including computer, woodcarving, painting, tailoring, handicrafts, carpet weaving and leather art.”

On completion of training, they practice their skills elsewhere and often master them. After passing this stage, vocational certificates are given, which have the same status as certificates issued by other vocational centers in the country.

The penitentiary also provides manufacturing opportunity to skilled prisoners; thus, they can earn their livelihood by employing their abilities, and support themselves and their families financially.

 Job Opportunity

After their release, opportunity for prisoners in the job market and social interaction should be provided since their social denial can increase their chances of committing crimes again; the media should raise public awareness about this issue. “Most of them repeat crimes because they are not employed or face social stigma.”

In the penitentiary there is a specific section for pregnant women and mothers who have young children. Kindergartens help mothers raise children “in a safe and nurturing environment.”

Prisoners were also found to suffer from health problems.  Therefore, questions arise whether to allow medical students to provide health care for women prisoners, instead of their compulsory service in remote areas before they are certified as doctors. The condition of prisoners’ training is favorable, the official added.  

“I suggest culture and media officials to visit prisons and examine them closely and describe the environment within to the people outside,” she added.

Aminzadeh got her PhD in law from the University of Glasgow in 1997.

She worked as assistant professor of law at the University of Tehran in the fields of international public law, energy law and human rights. She also taught at the University of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Allameh Tabatabaei University and Imam Sadegh University. She served in the seventh Majlis from 2004 to 2008 as lawmaker and was the deputy head of the Majlis national security and foreign policy committee.

She was appointed vice president for legal affairs by President Hassan Rouhani.