They require a multidisciplinary team with expertise in bio-psycho-social disciplines to facilitate treatment and rehabilitation

It is a scientifically proven fact that criminals have a structural and biological basis in their brain for asocial and criminal behaviour. A person with frontal lobe malfunction will be oblivious to the pain suffered by his victims. A person with deficiency in the amygdala could behave in very impulsive manner, without thinking of the consequences of his criminal activities. These people are likely to be repetitive offenders, who simply keep returning to the prison incurring a huge cost to the state treasury and repeatedly wasting the precious time of the police personnel and the judiciary.

The convict, following conviction, is kept in state custody in a prison under the watchful eyes of guards. Neither in view of their training nor by experience can they provide any rehabilitation to the prisoners, who range from hardcore criminals to petty offenders. The major outcome of this exercise would be exposure to fellow criminals, sharing of criminal ideas, networking among criminals and joint operations of unlawful activities. The minor outcome being some criminals giving up crime due to the hardships experienced and the stigma of being held in a prison. People can also be involved in crime due to environmental factors; frequent interactions with offenders and exposure to criminal activities. Similarly, people can be involved in crime, due to lack of skills to pursue any job for livelihood.

It is commendable of the prison authorities to have initiated educational opportunities in the prison; now prisoners can write school and degree course examinations. So also they are exposed to yoga and religious rituals and discourses; all of these can be of enormous influence in changing their mind towards socially acceptable behaviour.

Over and above, prisoners require a multidisciplinary team with expertise in bio-psycho-social disciplines to facilitate treatment and rehabilitation. Prisoners, who have disorders of the brain, require the help of a neurologist or neurosurgeon, while behavioural and emotional disturbances can be treated by a psychiatrist. If a person has paranoia, he can suffer from suspicion that others are planning to attack him or even kill him. A psychiatrist can set right this problem in about month's time with medication. Paedophilia is a sexual disorder which requires treatment with medication and psychotherapy.

A psychotherapist can enable them to modify their dysfunctional thought process, beliefs and emotional reactions which lead them to criminal activities. A clinical social worker would be able to initiate a corrective procedure towards destructive behavioural patterns, pathological family dynamics and environmental influences of criminal activities. A rehabilitation psychologist would be able to find the aptitude of the person and can guide them to choose appropriate vocational training.

The multidisciplinary team needs to have a very clear role definition and also be officially involved in all decisions related to the prisoner. Each discipline bringing their body of knowledge can enhance the state's effort to enable the person to lead a crime-free life, thereby cleansing the society.

All prisoners should be considered as patients unless proved otherwise!

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