GUWAHATI, Aug 28 - The Prisons department is planning to attach a dedicated team of psychiatrist and psychologists with each of the 31 jails in the State for inmates, especially those who have been sentenced to imprisonment for a long duration.
With majority of such inmates believed to be suffering from mental health issues, the proposal could get a go-ahead from the government very soon.
Sources informed that the Prisons department has already submitted a proposal to the Home and Political departments asking the latter to create new posts for mental health experts (psychiatrist and psychologists) for each of the jails in the State.
The experts also will be engaged to offer correctional psychiatric treatment to the inmates on need basis after systematic periodical screening.
�Mental health is a major issue in the prisons. To put an effective mental care intervention in place, we need a dedicated team of experts backed by an equally robust support system,� a source at Prisons department told�The Assam Tribune.
�Most of the inmates find it really tough to cope with the separation from their loved ones which is why issues like anger management and stress management become very crucial. There have been instances of inmates committing suicides under such circumstances,� the source added.
The source further stated that although there is a provision for having a mental expert for jails, the move never materialized, with only a couple of them getting enrolled, which is not sufficient.
Further, there is also a proposal to fill up the vacant posts of doctors and pharmacists in the jails.
�At the moment, the actual strength of doctors is much less than the sanctioned posts. Many prisons are functioning with a doctor and in the event of an emergency, they tend to avail the respective civil hospital or medical college. Sometimes, situation aggravates due to absence of timely treatment,� the source pointed out, adding that the jails are roping in doctors from the National Health Mission as part of a stop-gap arrangement.
As far as COVID-19 infection, of the 2,500-odd prisoners who were tested positive for COVID-19, over 2,400 have so far recovered.