August 18, 2016

Ostracism does not work for reintegration of ex-inmates

The eleven inmates who passed the matriculation examination in 2015-2016 academic year and their teachers were honoured on 30th July. The teachers are known to be from Basic Education High School No.1 and Basic Education Middle School No.13 from Insein. They have taught 19 inmates from Insein Correctional Facility and 11 out of 19 have got through the difficult matriculation examination with one even winning distinction. In fact, this success percentage outdoes the average percentage of under 30.
This event is believed to remind the people of improvement in the conditions of the prisoners. In those days, far from teaching/learning and sitting an examination, even a book could not be brought into the prison. This kind of improvement must be attributed to the changes in the policy towards prisoners, who have once been regarded as the criminals who will never become good citizens again. It is worth noting that policy of punishment has changed in all aspects.
One important modern aspect in meting out punishment is that the criminals are kept in the prison not to kill their future but to help them to be able to reintegrate themselves into the society by mending their behaviour, giving enough time to reflect upon what they have done and to exercise restraint when they return to their community. In this function, the prison authorities have arranged for the Buddhist monks to deliver sermons and also established the makeshift meditation centre inside the correctional facility to enable the inmates to find solace at least for the not very ambitious. And for those who are very ambitious for emancipation from the rounds of rebirth, the authorities have even kept the Buddhist monks inside the correctional facilities for a longer period to help the inmates understand the insights of the absolute truth, the realization of which will make them free from all sufferings.
Such being the case, it is of vital importance for entire mass of people to have a correct outlook toward the jail returnees and help them for their reintegration into the society, avoiding ostracizing them at a time when the government itself is helping them, changing its policy towards the former inmates.


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