P.V.V. Murthi

Panel, board to be formed, says APCA Director

Until now, there was no stress on personality development of officers: Director

“MoUs to be signed with universities and colleges for student exchange programmes”

VELLORE: The formation of an academic committee comprising senior prison officers of the southern States and the constitution of a Board of Studies comprising experts and academics in various fields related to prison administration are among the various steps taken by the Academy of Prisons and Correctional Administration (APCA), Vellore, to upgrade the standards of training imparted to prison officers, according to M.R. Ahmed, Director of APCA. The academy was jointly started by the governments of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka, as RICA (Regional Institute of Correctional Administration), in Vellore in 1979 to impart in-service training to prison officers. Currently, it is administered by a Board of Management comprising the Directors General of Prisons of the four States.

Talking to The Hindu here on Wednesday, Dr. Ahmed said that hitherto prison officers were imparted training in strengthening security in prisons and care of the prison inmates, but there was no stress on the personality development of the officers. Whenever he attended national seminars and symposia on prison administration, he found that prison officers rarely stood up and aired their views on problems faced by them, though such seminars were meant for an open exchange. This is because prison officers suffer from low esteem and lack of self-confidence.

The Board of Studies, which has been constituted for the first time, would frame a syllabus for the prison officers. The APCA also proposed to train prison officers in swimming and driving.

Dr. Ahmed said that another significant decision which APCA had taken was to sign Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with universities and colleges for student exchange programmes. The Indira Gandhi National Open University, Thiruvananthapuram had come forward to set up its centre in APCA, he said, adding that he was in touch with Madras University, Osmania University, Hyderabad, and the VIT University, Vellore, for the purpose of having tie-up for student exchange programmes. The APCA Director said the Academy required more land to establish a playground and parade ground for the trainee officers.

Asked about the proposal to shift APCA to Chennai, Dr. Ahmed said that the Board of Management of APCA proposed to do so to facilitate the visit of guest faculty from places like Hyderabad and Delhi who at present find it difficult to visit APCA frequently owing to the distance and time involved in reaching Vellore after landing by air at Chennai. But the proposal did not come through owing to non-availability of sufficient land in Chennai or Kancheepuram districts. “We are now planning to strengthen the infrastructure in Vellore itself.” APCA, he said, currently imparts training not only to the prison officers from the four southern States, but also from various other States.