To reach out to the children of incarcerated parents in the society, the Goa SCPCR and Child Welfare Committee, North Goa and South Goa visited the Colvale Jail on 31st March, 2023. The visit focused on mapping the status of children of incarcerated parents.
As per Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, these children are in need of special care and protection and their conditions need to be carefully mapped and monitored to see that they are not being treated in any discriminatory manner in case they are with relatives, or stigmatized for being child of prisoners.
“Children of incarcerated parents are forced to adjust to a parentless existence and have to deal with stigma of having such parents amidst turmoil and economic distress. In many cases they have to readjust and also take on new roles to provide domestic, emotional, or financial support for other family members”, said Peter F. Borges, Chairperson, GSCPCR.
During the course of the mapping study, several prisoners, specially undertrials, narrated the trauma of not having met their children for long years. The facility in the jail premises for children to interact with their incarcerated parents is not child friendly and could result in a traumatic experience.
In view of this, the Honourable Commission has recommended to the Office of Inspector General of Prisons that the prison should be sensitive to imprisoned parents maintaining contact with their children. It should be more flexible with visitation restrictions for children with child sensitive and friendly security procedures. This would mean allowing private time between children and parents, and letting children touch and talk to their parent in a room, which is child friendly, with provision of toys and books in waiting room.