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Emotional Intelligence is a Priority for Jail Inmates

Author: Shaveta Nayyar Dham
by Shaveta Nayyar Dham
Posted: Nov 29, 2019

According to Prison Statistics India 2016, published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) - at the end of 2016, there were 4, 33,033 people in prison; of them 68% were under trials. India’s under-trial population remains among the highest in the world

Jail or imprisonment is an environment that has tremendous psychological ethos attached to it.It’s a place of duality where darkness and light co-exists, where good and evil prosper, where stableness and change are running together in human race.

Today, with crime at its peak in the form of murders, suicides, honour killing etc, it’s all about emotions that have not been nurtured in the right way. However, we can only bring change once we understand the root cause and analyse how inmates feel in jail once they have committed a crime.

Men’s prisons have been described as emotionally unpredictable places that are often drenched in violence and aggression. In this environment, many emotions are seen that reflect their undesired behaviors like aggression, physical abuse by showing intense masculinity, emotional endurance etc. Given that prisoners may need to manage their emotions across diverse settings, there are deep-seated insecurities that either brings a change or worsens the life approach of any jail inmate.

The problems related to women inmates in jail become more noticeable. Prison systems are primarily designed to cater to men and are not well equipped to address the needs of women in prison. Physical and sexual violence is a risk, a possibility, a fact-faced by women inmates. Some women live in exclusively female prisons, while the majority are kept in female enclosures of general prisons. Some women living with their children need more attention in terms of their emotional health. Considering women are more sensitive and are prone to acute psychological trauma, it becomes rather difficult to resolve their conflict. Sensitivity needs to be maintained at all levels especially emotionally. It thus becomes a priority to resolve women’s deep inner conflict through emotional intelligence as a persistent activity.

Sigmund Freud said, "Unexpressed emotions never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways." Anger, fear, disgust, hatred etc are emotions that we will more often find in the jail inmates that have arisen due to certain experiences in their lives. Another factor that is important is that subsequent loss of values is caused as managing emotions became difficult and lead to uncalled circumstances in an inmate’s life. The roller coaster of emotions thus needs to be understood first in order to create an environment of positivity in jail.

Emotional Well Being- Causes & Consequences

The causes and consequences of psychological well-being among prisoners has been a subject of concern since a long time. The relevance of this matter continues to grow as the number of people imprisoned in India has increased rapidly. What forms of emotion are felt in prison? Prisoners handle their emotions that are often deep and lead to certain undesired action. How important is it for prisoners to manage such expressions of emotion? The complexity of emotions in prisoners is a huge study. Often seen the darker side of emotions, prisoners in jail need an environment to release, to express, to hide, to see, to realize that they are too a part of the society and fundamentally human beings. Depression, anxiety, frustration, mental illness are all symptoms that have root cause inbuilt in their inability to manage their own emotions.


The need in the jail today is to build an emotional connect with the inmates, to give an opportunity to them to "express" more freely about their desires or any "causes" that led to bitter experiences in life. Therefore, working on their emotions with a more focused and collective way is the need of the hour.

A continuous effort is required to understand an inmate and then work on his or her emotional intelligence so that he is able to take better decisions in life.It’s time to look at the jail inmates with a more pragmatic approach. Sometimes we ignore the basic causes that lead to such heinous crimes failing to understand the sensitivity of "emotion" attached to the human being. Emotions that are basic, emotions that are sensitive, emotions that govern us everyday has largely been ignored in general. It becomes imperative especially while bringing a positive change in a jail inmate’s life that we look inside the "inner world", understand and then start working on it.

The ways prisoners seek to manage their emotions and the underlying motives for such self-regulation would be interesting to study.

In India, we need to introduce more programs that focus on emotional intelligence and emotional wellness of jail inmates. There is a dire need of organizations working with jail inmates on emotional wellness to provide a more accurate framework of how emotions function in prison, while also developing an increased understanding of prisoner’s inner worlds and how he relates to the outer world.

At the Mind-Life dialogue at Dharamshala, Dalai Lama focused on the theme, "Re-imagining Human Flourishing" that centered on the need of developing compassion, awareness and social and emotional learning from early childhood. He said that this would prevent depression and anxiety in our children to a larger extent.

Many juvenile crimes are a result of imbalance of human emotions. It is so important that we need to nurture emotional intelligence at that age when children are sensitive to commit human errors. Thus, more programs need to be designed for juvenile inmates that nurture their emotional intelligence leading to their holistic development.

Therefore, today we need to reinforce emotional intelligence as a change maker in the development of jail inmates.

Sargam Zindagi Ki

About the Author

SHAVETA NAYYAR DHAM is an expert writer, currently she is writing for topic sargam zindagi ki program.

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Author: Shaveta Nayyar Dham

Shaveta Nayyar Dham

Member since: Nov 26, 2019
Published articles: 2

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