“We need better human beings, and not new gadgets for better administration of prisons,” said T. Krishna Raju, Director General of Police (Prisons) and Correctional Services, Andhra Pradesh, and Chairman of the Academy of Prisons and Correctional Administration (APCA), Vellore.

He was speaking at the valedictory function of a 5-day Workshop on ‘Training of Trainers on Prison Management and Human Rights’ organised by Penal Reform International, the U.K., and Penal Reform and Justice Association (PRAJA), India, in collaboration with APCA here on Friday.

Mr. Raju said that Prison Departments need not go in for sophisticated gadgets in prisons, since the gadgets may fail if the human beings behind the gadgets committed a mistake.

He called upon the trainees to implement new techniques learnt at the workshop in their prisons. “While talking of human rights, we should not forget human rights of prison staff. If the prison staff are taken care of properly and the concept of human rights inculcated in them, we can do better service,” he said.

Mr. Raju stressed the need for rehabilitation of the prisoners considering the fact that a majority of the prisoners come to jail for minor offences and crimes committed on the spur of the moment. He appealed to the trainees to go back to their prisons, discuss with their senior officers what they learnt at the workshop, and come up with new ideas for improving the prison administration and correctional services.

Rani Shankardass, Secretary-General, PRAJA-India, who presided, said that prison officers should remember that they do not stop being human beings once they wore the prison officer’s hat. G. Jayavardhan, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Prisons), Andhra Pradesh, R. Kanagaraj, Superintendent of Police (Prisons), Tamil Nadu, and H. Gopakumar, DIG of Police (Prisons), Kerala, gave their feedback on the workshop.

M.R. Ahmed, Director, APCA, said that routine training given to prison officers was not sufficient to make them confident.