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Professor Abdul Hakim Sarker, Ph.

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Institute of Social Work and Research Criminology and Criminal Justice Masters Program University of Dhaka

Recidivism is an act of repeating an undesirable behavior time and again by a same person. In case of criminal recidivism the incidence of re-arrest and re-to imprisonment takes place to an extent that is a threat to law-enforcing authority, including the judicial system. Imprisonment is associated with social stigma. It is more so and reproachful in a traditionbound society like ours.

After release of a prisoner he/she finds difficulties in re-adjustments with the society; society is also not much concerned about how a person in such a situation can get minimum acceptance from the society. The offender has paid the penalty for violating laws, deprived of liberty also for a certain period. In spite of having undergone punishment due to him/her, he/she is not exonerated from the wrong done and rejected by the society. Finding no way out he/she becomes hostile and goes for cultivating friendship with criminals and gets more organized and involved in heinous crime as habitual/career criminals.

After-Care is defined as re-integrative services that prepare out of home persons particularly the juveniles for re-entry into the community establishing necessary collaborative arrangements with the community. Community arrangements will ensure the delivery of required services and supervision. Truly speaking, after-care process typically begins after sentencing and continues through incarceration and an offenders release into the community.

After-care means a continuing treatment, physical maintenance, and social support of formerly hospitalized or institutionalized clients during extended convalescence or social transition back to the community. It also works in case of the status of juvenile who has been conditionally released from incarceration as a result of delinquency and placed under supervised treatment at home or in an institution. Scope of after care services are not necessarily limited to persons discharged from custodial or correctional institutions, well extended to a variety of other groups (other institutions residents) experiencing difficulties in coming back to normal life.

Effective after care requires a seamless set of systems across formal and informal social control networks, also requiring a continuum of community services to prevent the recurrence of anti-social behavior. Private-Public-partnership (PPP) processes need be inculcated to expand the over all and concerted efforts in this regard. Two key components of after care concept distinguish it from the traditional juvenile justice model: (1) offenders must receive both services and supervision and (2) they must receive intensive intervention while they are incarcerated, during their transition to the community, and when they are under community supervision. The second one refines the concept of re-integrative services that require before release as well as after release.

Offenders released on expiry of sentence without supervision; Whose parole/probation period have been terminated and are in difficulties or needing help; Offenders received suspended sentence without probation supervision; Discharged offenders upon suspension of prosecution; and others.

Under PPP principle there are Probation and After-Care Associations in every district possessing the philosophy that correctional approach in stead of deterrent punishment can permanently change life pattern and behavior of an individual. The Association is headed by District Magistrate, Deputy Director, Social Service Department as General Secretary, including representatives from public front. Probation and After-Care are the integral part of services to re-socialization and re-integration of an offender in the society. After-care service was run with the introduction of probation Service in 1841, but not in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh Probation of Offenders Act, 1960, later amended as Probation Act,1964; After-Care Service was also introduced as non-statutory one in 1962.

At the onset, two projects were taken in 1962 one of which was (1) Probation of Offenders; and (2) After-Care Services under the erstwhile East Pakistan Directorate of Social Welfare. With five centers (equipped with hostels and vocational training, Half-Way-House) for social rehabilitation of released prisoners; The officers were concerned with: (a) study the cases of prisoners who would be shortly released; (b) help them adjust and live a normal life after release; rehabilitate them through vocational training and guidance; and (d) secure employment for them.

After-Care caters services to prisoners in jail and released prisoners in the society. Up to June,2007 through probation and aftercare services 6138 and 6649 persons were rehabilitated respectively; this is said to be prospective in respect of re-integrating of the offenders in the society . In 2009 and 2010, the beneficiary of after care services are 19,689 and 3465 offenders respectively and the rate is on increase.

Institutional programs which primarily arrange for physical care, certain psychological treatment and imparting of skills and attitudes for final economic and social rehabilitation. After-Care Services essentially provide assistance for securing suitable employment and help in all aspects of social rehabilitation. DSS has identified three objectives: (1) provide education for the prisoners in jails; (2) provide legal assistance for the destitute and needy children; and (3)provide assistance for social reintegration and rehabilitation.

First step for developing an After Care Model is to build program support at leadership and staff levels. This process is for building community support which is evident in the Intensive After Care Program (IAP) in Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia because they have developed community support garnering the cooperation of high level decision-makers from relevant agencies, managers of various operational units, supervisors, and the line staff. The sites and several mechanisms to gain support, but the most important factor is their decision to include many people in planning and development stages of the program.

Inter agency collaboration is a key strategy as it reconnects fragmented human services organizations to create an efficient system addressing multiple problems of incarcerated youth. This collaboration form is durable, pervasive relationship characterized by mutual benefits, interdependence with a formal commitment to working together for specific purposes and outcomes. Correction agencies may create linkages between inprison job training and community-based employment and job-training and between healthcare and community based health care, and so on. This is how IAP provides a useful illustration of how to develop successful collaborative partnership.

Thank You