Workshop on reformation of probation service

RAWALPINDI: Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agricultural University will hold a two-day workshop on “Capacity Building and Risk Assessment of Punjab Probation/Payroll Officers” in the light of a research project approved by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to reclaim criminals, convicts and inmates of Punjab prisons as useful citizens of the society.

The workshop will be held from December 20-21 at the university along with international and national partners of the project who will shed light on modern standards and methods to make prisoners, convicts and accused persons useful citizens of society.

According to Professor Mazhar Hussain Bhutta, Principal Investigator Officer and Chairman of the Department of Criminology and Sociology, Pir Meher Ali Shah Arid Agricultural University, the workshop is being organised under the HEC-approved research project “Revamping Probation Services: Assessing risks, needs and strengths of offenders on probation in Punjab, Pakistan.”

He said that the international academic partner of this project is Dr. Shelley Brown who is a professor of forensic psychology, and Director, Gender and Crime Lab at Carleton University Canada. However, the other partners included the Department of Law, Policy and Procedure of Fatima Jinnah Women University, Probation and Payroll Services Department Punjab, National Police Bureau and research departments of related institutions are included.

Prof. Dr. Mazhar Hussain Bhutta further informed about the two-day workshop that Prof. Dr. Shelley Brown will address online in this workshop while 15 probation officers nominated by Punjab Probation and Payroll Services Department, Additional IG of Punjab Prisons, Ministry of Director General of National Academy for Prisoner Administration, Deputy Director of National Police Bureau of Pakistan and Director of Training and Research NAB Headquarters and Head of Department of Law and Policy of Fatima Jinnah Women University will also share their thoughts on various topics.

He said that according to the data of Punjab Probation/Payroll Services, in the month of January 2022, 55,687 prisoners are on probation from jails across Punjab.

Dr Bhutta added that steps to make these prisoners useful citizens of the society is the most important need of the hour. The purpose of this project is to increase the capacity of probation officers of Punjab Probation and Payroll Services, who play a key role in counseling prisoners in prisons, in the context of international standards, to find a way forward to close the gap in the assessment and rehabilitation process.

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