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Peer-help counselling model for prisoners

  Govindarajan, P., & Janetius, S.T. (2017). Mental health problems among prison inmates and a peer-help counselling model for suicide prevention, Paper presented at the International Conference on Nurturing Global Mental Health – A Paradigm Shift March 8-10, 2017, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore.


Abstract: A correctional institution to incarcerate people is indispensable for every social system in the world since crime and criminals are seen in all the cultures in human history. A prison is a place of punishment in which people who violate the law are penalised as per the Indian Penal Code. The history of prison in India and constant changes in various prison conditions reflect the varying social attitude towards crime, prison and prison inmates. NCRB estimates that there are 3,69,00 to 384700 prisoners in India and more than 10 million people all over the world (Jain, 2014). It is a known fact that a prison is a place people least prefers to visit. Life inside a prison is traumatic, stressful and a lot of mental health problems are observed inside the prison (Tosh, 1982; Janetius & Mini, 2013; Bartol & Bartol, 2014). Suicides in prison are also a global phenomenon. In 2014, prisons in England alone had 82 suicides. In India, the average annual death rate inside the prison is 375 but the reported suicide rate is less than 20 percent (Jain, 2014). Although social workers are employed in every prison, a variety of mental health service is offered mainly by social workers, psychologists and other service personnel from NGOs and other institutions in an unorganised way that reduces the stress, depression and other mental health problems of prison inmates. This empirical study describes the situation of prisoners and various causes of mental health problems, with the special reference to suicides, and evaluates the various services offered and explains an Evidence-Based Peer-help counselling Model for suicide prevention in the prison.

Dr.Janetius, Professor of Psychology, Jain University, Bangalore
dr.janetius [at] gmail.com