Training for Inmates Helps Post-Release

Training for Inmates Helps Post-ReleaseTraining for Inmates Helps Post-Release

Prisoners’ families are vulnerable and face many social dilemmas, including financial instability, poverty, debt and potential relocation following the imprisonment of a family member, said Ali Asghar Jahangir, head of the country’s Prisons Organization.

At present, 196 active NGOs are working for prisoners’ families. “We should raise people’s awareness and encourage them to support the NGOs,” he said, IRNA reported.

In the past 3 years, “we have discussed plans to create productive jobs for inmates in jails but due to lack of funding, it has not fructified. Currently, only 10-20% of the prisoners earn money by working in a prison job,” Jahangir said.

At present, vocational training is provided to prisoners and 100 different vocations are taught. Inmates who receive vocational training are less likely to return to prison after their release, and are 28% more likely to find employment than their peers who do not have such opportunities,” he noted.

Jahangir said $15-30 million is required to implement vocational training on a large-scale to encompass all prisoners as well as their employment in the jails.

A meta analytical study has shown that a $1 investment in prison education reduces incarceration costs by $4 to $5 in the first three years post-release.

 Alternative Punishment

Jahangir also pointed to the use of ‘electronic shackles’ for offenders to monitor them when they are under home arrest. “This way, the number of prisoners in the country’s jails is reduced.”

He said the use of alternative punishment instead of imprisonment can also help reduce prison population. Alternative punishments include providing social services in different institutions, cash penalties and deprivation of social rights.

According to the new Islamic penal code, revised in May 2005, for intentional and unintentional offenders sentenced to less than 3 months and less than 2 years, respectively, use of alternative punishments is compulsory. Also alternative punishments for offenders sentenced to 6 months to one year are optional, and the decision rests with the court.

At present, 80% of prisoners are from the disadvantaged sections of the society.