F. No. 17013/19/2021-PR
Government of India
Ministry of Home Affairs
Women Safety Division, Hall No. 2,
Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium,
India Gate, New Delhi — 110002
Dated: June 24, 2021
The Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs
The Advisors to Administrators of UTs of Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar
Haveli & Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Ladakh
The DG/IG Prisons of all States and UTs
Sub: Addressing mental health issues of inmates and staff in Prisons and Correctional facilities during Covid-19.
The Covid-19 pandemic has posed unique challenges to the world. Prisons and Correctional facilities have also been affected by the pandemic. Appropriate measures have been taken by Prison authorities to check the spread of Covid-19 in Prisons. However, there is a need to continue to monitor the situation rigorously without letting the guard down and provide care and support to inmates and prison staff.
2. Incarcerated populations may face many vulnerabilities during the pandemic, including anxiety, stress, deprivation of support from families, concern about the well being of their family members etc., which may impact their mental well being. Mental health of prisoners is therefore an area of focus and concern.
3. During this period, prison staff has also been working under tremendous pressure and may have faced challenges in performing their duty while safeguarding themselves from catching the infection, thereby resulting in mental stress and strain for them.
4. Taking cognizance of the challenges faced by prison inmates and prison staff, the Ministry of Home Affairs had engaged with the Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore and had requested them to prepare guidelines for addressing the mental health needs of prisoners and prison staff with a view to empowering them in managing these issues.
5. NIMHANS has now prepared two handbooks titled ‘Dealing with Mental Health Issues in Prisoners during COVID-19: A HANDBOOK’ and ‘Dealing with Mental Health Issues in Prison Staff during COVID-19: A HANDBOOK.’ The Handbooks are forwarded to all State Prison authorities, who may disseminate the guidance contained therein to all Prisons in the States and UTs. They may also consider getting these translated into local language of the State/UT for better reach and understanding by one and all. It is expected that these Handbooks will serve as an important step towards promoting the mental health and well-being of prisoners and prison staff during the times of COVID-19.
6. Prison authorities are requested to make use of the guidance provided in these Handbooks and also explore and evaluate appropriate strategies for promoting mental wellbeing of inmates and prison staff.
Deputy Secretary to the Govt. of India
Tele: 2307 5297