AFTERCARE J. J. PANAKAL Aftercare is a necessary phase in completing the...
J. J. PANAKAL
Aftercare is a necessary phase in completing the programme of treatment of an
adult or juvenile delinquent. In the following article, Mr. Panakal discusses some of
the problems that arise after an inmate is released from an institution and suggests
methods of dealing with them.
Mr. Panakal is a member of the Faculty and In-charge of the Division of Criminology,
Juvenile Delinquency and Correctional Administration, T a t a Institute of Social Sciences.
Aftercare presupposes the completion of social welfare. Where such assistance is not
a period of institutional treatment. There-
forthcoming, the aftercare services should
fore, it is a necessary phase in completing send legal advisers—paid or voluntary—to
a programme of treatment. This article deals ascertain the kind of help required by those
with the services that should be made undertrials who are not themselves in a
available by the district branch of a state-
position to defend themselves.
wide aftercare organisation. These include
legal aid, family welfare work, provision of
The case of a man who has been sentenced
clothing, food, shelter, employment, edu-
to an institution requires further considera-
cational opportunities, additional vocational tion. Institutional personnel do not have the
training, and financial aid to released inmates. time to give illiterate inmates facilities for
preparing their appeals other than trans-
—The primary functions of an mitting petitions prepared by them or by
aftercare agency is to aid the ex-inmate their friends. The result is that unreasonable
when he steps out of an institution and and far-fetched suggestions are likely to get
returns to outer life. Though all aspects of into the petitions which are forwarded to the
legal assistance do not thus come strictly higher courts. In really deserving cases, the
within the scope of aftercare, the agency aftercare agency should arrange for drafting
can still render useful service in this direc-
and conducting appeals. Much discretion
tion. The poorer the accused, the less will have to be used in rendering this kind
chance he has of receiving adequate legal of aid. Help could also be rendered in
assistance. Help, therefore, is imperative in assisting inmates with defence in ejectment
our court system where no expense is spared cases which sometimes are brought to harass
as a rule in prosecution but hardly any families of the agricultural classes.
provision is made for the defence of a poor
person. Helpless are those accused of serious
—The family is central in
crimes, with no means to defend themselves our social organisation and, therefore, has
properly. Adequate assistance at this stage an important bearing on subsequent adjust-
may obviate the need to send many a man ment. The possibility of regaining his position
in society depends to a large extent on the
family. It is the most powerful influence
At present, counsels are appointed only to for restraining him from further delinquent
represent an undefended accused charged behaviour. In the case of children released
with murder. In other cases, any voluntary from institutions, failure is often the result
legal assistance given by individuals or when the families which receive them back
groups is generally due to their interest in lack a receptive attitude.
AFTERCARE 4 1
T h e r e are several aspects to the work with in society shall ensure the satisfaction of
the family. Special attention will have to immediate needs. Such service which finds
be given to family relationships and the expression in various ways of assistance may
agency should maintain liaison with the be rendered in cooperation with kindred
inmates and their families. If the inmate is organisations. Where a person requires
to live with his family, it is advisable for additional clothing to supplement his meagre
the staff to see them before the individual wardrobe on discharge from the institution,
returns and to urge them for his reception the agency should distribute clothes and, if
at his home. Even after his arrival, the in bad health, other aids, such bedding
family often can be of great assistance.
set and a blanket. T h e agency undertaking
aftercare work not only helps to find
T h e consequences of prolonged imprison-
employment but also makes all arrangements
ment of the only or chief bread winner for the individual to live in suitable comfort.
of a family, with no other supporters or If he has no home to go to, or cannot be
guardians, constitute an urgent problem. T h e restored there due to its unsympathetic cha-
family borrows and then begs hoping to racter or on account of other adverse
look to him for support on his return. circumstances, he would be practically forced
Eventually, poverty and suffering engulf the
whole family, and sickness born of misery to stop at the easily available shelter offered
is writ large on every face. Innocent women by his companion of crime.
are left without protection after the bread-
Few of them can seek employment but
winner is interned. Helpless children are even then they need shelter and food till such
emaciated by starvation. T h e prisoner also time as they get their first wages. For this
may need help in protecting his other assets. purpose, homes under the control of the
. In such cases, the aftercare agency should agency should be opened which would cater
assume charge as the temporary guardian. as mid-way stations for inmates returning
T h e agency should do whatever is possible from the institutional setting to free society.
to meet their needs so t h a t the anxiety of Here the ex-inmate can be housed while
inmates about the fate of their unprotected looking out for work or while seeking for a
families m a y be relieved.
lodging when he has secured employment.
T h e question of extending the services of
In large centres, such facilities will be
the agency to the families of persons in useful not only for adults and children but
institutions has been widely accepted. In also for accommodating girls who need care
special cases, it is worthwhile to make a and protection even after release from insti-
grant to the dependents of an inmate who tutions. In the rural areas, away from the
may be in great straits on account of his
industrialised environment, the ex-inmate
institutionalisation. Material support given faces special difficulties. Owing to the small
to dependents can only partially alleviate numbers involved, we m a y again consider
this problem involving m a n y imponderable herein the possibility of starting ashrams
factors. It is, therefore) essential to offer which can operate on a self-sufficient basis
all necessary assistance, so t h a t the home of and along cooperative lines.
the inmate m a y be preserved from being
T h e existing facilities operated under
broken up in his absence.
public sponsorship are inadequate to make
Clothing, Food and Shelter.—
Agencies for any impression on the aftercare problem.
enabling ex-inmates to establish themselves T h e organisations vested with aftercare
42 J. J. PANAKAL
functions should also explore the possibility after discharge from the institution, there
of using buildings originally built as places must be adequate and gainful employment.
of religious worship but are at present
Gases are reported where the so-called
vacant or not fully occupied.
confirmed criminals have turned out to be
While the pattern of providing residence good citizens, earning their bread by hard
has not proved to be the most satisfactory manual labour when offered a helping hand.
solution, such facilities should make the In the absence of employment, an ex-inmate
transition less abrupt. The ex-inmate should is often compelled to take to crime. Thus
be assimilated back in society without the problem of recidivism is bound to rise.
creating fresh problems. New admissions Huge expenditure involved in institutional
should be studied carefully and individuals treatment will thus be wasted. Hence the
who have shown no favourable results in maximum advantage of aftercare work lies
institutions should be permitted to take in giving work as soon as they arrive from
advantage of this service only under intensive the institution. Society should direct every
supervision. The staff should see that the effort towards securing employment for them.
service not only has the personal touch but
In many cases, the ex-inmate finds
also the discipline necessary for maintaining employment for himself. In other cases, he
an organised welfare service.
may only need a letter to help him find
Preferably, ex-inmates should be allowed work. But the solution of the problems of
residence only temporarily, going on to
large number is affected by other diffi-
different places after jobs or other arrange-
culties in finding employment. In times of
ments have been found for them. There is prosperity, generally it will be possible to
a tendency for quite a number of persons find jobs provided the ex-inmate has certain
to continue their stay indefinitely without minimum skills and knowledge. When
making way for new entrants, the reason unemployment prevails, the possibilities in
offered being the difficulty of finding other this field become very limited.
accommodation at low rates. Reportedly,
In extra-mural life, an ex-inmate some-
some unemployed ex-inmates get indebted times cannot practise his old trade in his
to the aftercare agency on account of village either because conditions have
boarding charges, a factor which eventually changed or because the villagers do not wish
affects their adjustment when they start to give him work. If possible, it is better
to secure employment before the arrival of
—In every aftercare plan, the the ex-inmate. This is essential for the
certainty of securing employment takes a success of the scheme, but in practice it is
central place, and protection from depen-
impossible to meet such a requirement. As
dency should be an important aspect of a preliminary to total release, inmates should
the activities of the agency. During the be sent out for short periods to look for
post-institutional period, direct aid should jobs so that the difficulties arising from lack
consist of endeavours to obtain employment of preliminary contacts between an inmate
and to stimulate them to be self-supporting. and a potential employer may be solved.
The provision of work to enable the
The problem is more than merely finding
individual to earn a living is of great impor-
employment. When a person has received
tance especially in the case of those deprived special training in the institution, he should
of free life for long periods, Therefore, have ample opportunities to settle down in
AFTERCARE 4 3
a job most suitable to his capacities and
T h e residential building used during after-
interest. It is of little value to train an care m a y be fitted with equipment to enable
inmate and at the end find t h a t there is no ex-inmates waiting for suitable employment
alternative but to drift and divert from that to continue the kind of work they have been
for which he has been trained. An additional carrying on in the institution or to receive
difficulty in placement is the preference of instruction in some related or new occupa-
some inmates to find employment in places tion in order to facilitate their employment.
of their choice.
H e r e , classes may be conducted in coopera-
tion with the D e p a r t m e n t of Industries of
An individual who is suddenly exposed to the State Government who may be consulted
the responsibility of supporting himself after on the type of industry most suitable to the
a prolonged period of dependency in an resources and potentialities of each district
institution will find it very difficult to stick so that it will be easy to find market for the
to an employment involving very heavy products.
m a n u a l labour coupled perhaps with very
low income. Further, the m a n may fail in
Where land is available to be reclaimed
the first job found for him through lack and brought under cultivation, inmates who
of adaptability. T h u s it is an uphill task cannot be given suitable jobs may be settled
which demands the finding of a succession in agriculture. In an agricultural country
of jobs until he manages to keep one.
like India, it should be possible to establish
a few colonies where ex-inmates particularly
Ex-inmates m a y be given employment in habituals who are trained in improved
suitable public services. T h e government is methods of agriculture but have no land
already giving special consideration to eco-
m a y be given plots reclaimed by them. A
nomically handicapped persons, such as, the good proportion of the ex-inmates must
backward classes, displaced persons and other
themselves have been agriculturists, either
special groups. T h e same facilities m a y be owning or cultivating the soil, who will
extended to ex-inmates who are often more ordinarily go back to their work in the
distressed t h a n any of the above categories. villages. The starting of such farms for
Ex-inmates could be safely employed in ex-inmates who want to live by cultivation
industrial units run by government so t h a t will relieve their problems to some extent.
they m a y be assured of continuous employ-
ment. To this end, the present rules regard-
—In the residen-
ing the employment or re-employment of ex-
tial building, the agency can provide lectures
inmates should be liberalised. Employment and other cultural activities with a view to
bureaus should experiment by giving pre-
ference to ex-inmates.
developing interest in accepted ways of
living so t h a t they would avoid future con-
A serious obstacle to the proper functioning
flicts with law enforcement agencies. This
of aftercare work is the prejudice on the p a r t
programme has great potentialities provided
of private employers against the employment the lectures and other activities are pro-
of ex-inmates. It is of particular importance
perly selected. A large number of ex-inmates
to enlist their cooperation to give employ-
will benefit from such instruction planned
ment to a good number of skilled workers. to create in them a desire for becoming good
They are shy in giving a job but the agency citizens. T h e home should be supplied with a
should work h a r d to remove discrimination radio and games material to make it an appro-
against ex-inmates in matters of employment. priate recreation centre for the residents.
44 J. J. PANAKAL
T h e agency should refrain from interfering
Besides giving financial asointed perma-
in religious matters. Religious needs need ties to earn a little more charge of Family
not be overlooked but they should be dealt for suitable work might be Miss Banerjee
with outside the frame work of aftercare. home. In any case, the after care medical and
If there is a demand for rendering religious always urge the ex-inmates to say welcome
instruction it should be done through other and to start a post office savings a c e she
agencies in the community.
Creating Public Opinion.
—In many cases, the real hope must remain alert to create a favourable
of rehabilitation lies in marriage. Some ex-
public opinion towards the cause of ex-
inmates need assistance in obtaining a inmates. T h e general lack of public interest
p a r t n e r as they have no relatives known to must be set down at least in p a r t to the
them who will help them to make arrange-
absence of a well directed and effective
ments. In such cases, the agency can give educative propaganda necessary to help them
help in arranging marriages though such realize t h a t the measures for the rehabili-
help should not be given indiscriminately. tation of ex-inmates are in the interests of
the community. It would serve m u c h useful
—If an earning scheme is purpose to approach official and non-official
in force in the institution or the ex-inmate persons to popularise this social welfare
has at the time of his discharge access to movement for the rehabilitation of ex-
funds available from other sources, it is inmates.
desirable to disburse them periodically
through the aftercare agency as seems best
This m a y be done either personally or
in the interest of the individual. W h e n an through letters of appeal. Since the subject
inmate is released, it is undesirable to p u t of offering assistance to ex-inmates is one
into his hands all the money t h a t is available which has come to the fore only recently,
to him as he might be inclined to spend the agency will do well to circulate bulletins,
wastefully. In many cases, the amount cannot
handbills and posters in the regional
be a substantial figure. Unless the money languages to arouse interest especially among
is laid out under supervision, it is not likely the relations of ex-inmates. It is also worth-
to go far in keeping a person between the while to arrange lectures on the subject of
date of his release and the day when a job aftercare, illustrated with lantern slides or
is secured for him.
films. T h e staff of the agency on their
frequent tours can address public meetings
Financial assistance is an important contri-
and also contribute articles on these subjects
bution but it is desirable to limit this kind to newspapers and magazines.
of aid and give it only when and where it
is absolutely necessary to put a person on
Such an intensive educational campaign
his feet. In addition to maintaining ex-
is bound to bear fruit and the attitude of
inmates while looking for work, suitable indifference, suspicion or hostility towards
assistance will be rendered if money can be released inmates m a y be changed into one
used occasionally to provide him with tools of friendliness. Interpretation of aftercare
when work has been found. It m a y even calls for patience and skill on the p a r t of
be worthwhile in exceptionally deserving the staff who will be entrusted with the work
cases to advance a limited amount of capital of building up relationships between the
to set up the person in business.
ex-inmates and the community.