Essay on Certified or Reformatory Schools

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Certified or Reformatory Schools

Juveniles given detention order by the court are kept in Reformatory Schools for a minimum period of three years and a maximum period of seven years. Inmates of about 18 years age are transferred to Borstal Schools.

These schools, meant only for boys, remain under the supervision of prison department. Each school having a capacity of 80 to 100 inmates is divided into four to five dormitories and each dormitory has four to five cells.

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Each school has superintendent, a deputy superintendent, a deputy jailor, an assistant jailor, a doctor, three to four instructors, two to three teachers, and some wardens. Training is given in tailoring, toy-making, manufacturing leather goods, and agriculture. Each training programme is of two years.

The inmate gets raw materials from the school and the things manufactured by him are sold in the market and the profit deposited to his account. After the deposits have reached a certain amount, the inmate has to produce things only for state use.

The inmate even gets basic education up to the fifth standard and he has to appear in the examinations conducted by Inspector of Schools at the end of the year. If an inmate wants to study beyond the fifth standard, he is admitted to an outside school.

Since no work is forced upon the inmates here, they live like family members. However, no follow-up records are maintained by the schools after the release of the inmates. Besides, the training programmes are too old and traditional.

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Borstal Schools Provision was made in the 1920s for the segregation of adolescent offenders from adults so that correction services, free from authoritarian atmosphere, be made possible for the young offenders. Borstal schools were thus established for youthful offenders in the age-group of 16-21 years.

Up to 1998, there were Borstal schools in only nine states in the country: Tamil Nadu (1926), Andhra Pradesh (1926), Bihar (1926), Punjab (1926), Madhya Pradesh (1928), Maharashtra (1929), Uttar Pradesh (1938), Kerala and Karnataka (1943), (Social Defence, 1998).

The capacity of each school varies from 100 to 350 inmates. Though these schools function under the general supervision of the Inspector General of Prisons, but each school has its own Visiting Committee consisting of a session judge, a district magistrate, a district level school officer, and four non-government members. No inmate is kept here for less than two years or more than five years.

Thus, only those delinquents are sent to these schools who are awarded more than three years’ term. Each school is divided into houses and each house has a house-master. Each house is further divided into groups and each group has a monitor. These monitors are selected from among the inmates.

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There is a grading system too in these schools: ordinary, star and special-star grades. Those inmates who violate norms are demoted to penal grade, but generally, they are promoted from the lower to the higher grade.

No inmate is eligible to be released from school unless he has reached the special-star grade. On being admitted to school, he is first observed for three months and given some ordinary work like gardening, etc. On being placed in the ordinary grade, he is assigned some training programme, depending on his education and potentialities.

Each promotion entails more freedom and more privileges. The total number of inmates in the nine Borstal schools in the country was estimated to be 1,400 in 1998 (SocialDefence, 1998), of which 35 per cent belonged to 16-18 years age group, 60 per cent to 18-21 years age group and 5 per cent to either 15-16 years or 21-22 years age group. The inmates of last category are admitted as special cases.

The expenses per inmate, per month are estimated at present (1998) to be about Rs. 800. This is about double the expenses in the Children’s Home. The daily routine includes two hours’ basic education and five to six hours’ vocational training. Every inmate gets 15 days’ leave in one year to visit his home. Normally, the inmate remains in continuous contact with his family members through correspondence and their visits.

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Some schools have created a panchayat system too and have thus associated the inmates with the management of the schools. In many cases, inmates are released from the schools before the expiry of the term.

For example, out of 1,200 inmates who left the various borstal schools in 1997 in the country, 50 per cent were released after the expiry of the term, 10 per cent on bail, 10 per cent on ‘license’, 5 per cent on appeal, 8 per cent on some other basis, and 2 per cent escaped.

Around 15 per cent were transferred to some other institutions. Before release from a borstal school, the Discharged Prisoners Aid Society is informed so that it can chalk out after-care programme for the released inmate.

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