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India: Prisoners Welfare Day observed on birthday of Mahatma Gandhi

Sister Mary James, assistant coordinator of Prison Ministry of India (PMI), Visakhapatnam, and the national awardee, senior member of PMI Ravi Gotteti, along with other members of PMI (Photo supplied)

The Prison Ministry of India (PMI), a church-based association that provides pastoral care to jail inmates, held a "Prisoners’ Welfare Day" on October 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

The program took place at Central Prison, Visakhapatnam, south India.

The main goals of the day were to reform prisoners, facilitate social reintegration, and build structures to help victims, offenders, and society.

The District Sessions Judge Sridevi and K.S. Viswanadhan, Joint District Collector, Visakhapatnam, were the chief guests, and the Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority, Buli Krishna, was the guest of honor.

Viswanadhan assured to provide needed beds in Government General Hospital, to organize a special camp in jail to provide Dr. YSR Aarogyasri health cards and national ID cards for prisoners.

The Superintendent of the Central Prison, S. Rahul, narrated the welfare programs and other reformative and rehabilitative programs being implemented to benefit the prisoners in the Central Prison.

Buli Krishna, secretary of District Legal Services explained the benefits of the Legal Aid Defense Counsel (LADC) system, which was recently introduced by the Federal Government in 365 districts in 22 states. 

He said that the LADC is a National Legal Services Authority-funded project to provide free legal aid to poor people facing criminal cases to defend themselves during the trial of their legal cases.

He promised to assist inmates in obtaining bail in their court cases.
Sister Mary James, assistant coordinator of PMI Visakhapatnam, and the national awardee, senior member of PMI Ravi Gotteti, along with other members, were also present on the occasion.

Sister Mary James addressed the gathering and spoke on the importance of the moral behavior of inmates and the best characters from the Bible, while Gotteti narrated the life of Gandhi and the struggle for India’s independence.

Students of St. Joseph’s Nursing School performed a cultural program of patriotic dances on a Gandhian theme.

The Deputy Superintendent of Central Prison, Ramachandra Rao, felicitated Sister Mary James for her contribution to the prison. The program ended with the national anthem.

PMI provides pastoral care in 1,412 prisons and over 4,500 prisoners across India. 

The major thrusts of PMI are to reach out, release, renew, rehabilitate, reintegrate and redeem prisoners. 

PMI, a national voluntary organization under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), has a history of liberating, rehabilitating, and redeeming tens of thousands of prisoners and their families through its 20 rehabilitation centers and 8,000 volunteers all over India. - Muddada Kranthi Swaroop, 


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