Mrunal Manmay Dash

The mental wellness initiative by the Odisha Prisons Directorate under the State Home Department kicked off on Wednesday with a team of psychiatrists visiting 85 patients in Choudwar Circle jail.

As per reports, 27 psychiatrists have been roped in by the department to evaluate and provide mental care to all the psychiatric patients in the jails of Odisha.

They will effectively start their visits to all the jails from May 1.

Speaking about the initiative, Prisons DG, Manoj Kumar Chhabra said, “The team of psychiatrists includes mental health, social workers and clinical psychologists. An induction programme was held at Choudwar jail today.”

“We have realized that mental health is a serious problem in Odisha, particularly after Covid. We have a big number of psychiatric patients in our jails. But a very few number of mental healthcare professionals were there to tend to them. We hope this initiative will help take care of the mental health of the prisoners and they will lead a healthy and dignified life inside the prisons,” Chhabra said.

As per reports, after Uttar Pradesh, Odisha has the highest number of mentally ill prisoners in its jails. Over 800 such prisoners are languishing in 87 jails across the State. While Malkangiri jail is at the top of the list for housing the maximum number of such prisoners, Koraput and Jeypore jails are in second and third spot respectively.

Similarly, according to the information shared by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there were 626 mentally ill prisoners in Odisha. In 2020, the number rose to 696. In 2021, the number increased further to 699.

  • Reported by:
  • Prakash Nayak