Webinar on Mental Health issues in prison inmates held at Jammu

Jammu: BPR&D, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India organized a webinar on ‘Mental Health issues in Prisons Inmates’ today during which DGP, Prisons, J&K-V. K. Singh, IPS, spoke on the topic ‘Insomnia in Prison Inmates’. The webinar was attended by DsG/IsG Prisons of other States/UTs.
The webinar was held in response to a report shared by DGP, Prisons, J&K regarding insomnia in inmates & CBT-I at District Jail Jammu. Prof. (Dr) Arti Bakhshi, Head Department of Psychology, Jammu University & Dr. Piyali Arora, Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychologist, Government College for Women, Parade, Jammu were also present during the webinar who were co-opted as resource persons in conducting the sessions at District Jail Jammu.
During this webinar DGP, Prisons emphasized that at the core of Prison administration is Correctional service which seeks to reform the inmate and enables them to re-integrate as healthy adults within the community on release. Accordingly, a need was felt to address sleep problems for better reformation of inmates which led to planning and implementation of this intervention. Sleep problems affect the heath of inmates adversely and long-term sleep problems among inmates may lead to memory issues, poor concentration, weak immune system, susceptibility to diabetes, depression, anxiety, suicide ideation etc., which in turn create an extra burden on the system and pose serious challenges in corrections.
The faculty of JU and GCW Parade stated that earlier a study had been conducted by the University of Manchester, UK in 2016 which had concluded that Insomnia Disorder and poor sleep quality were common in adult English prisoners and the findings emphasised the need for dedicated treatment pathways to improve screening, assessment and treatment of insomnia in prisons. Previous studies had identified risk factors for insomnia to include increased age, psychiatric disorders (eg depression, anxiety, personality disorders), physical ill-health, stressful events, prescription medication and substance abuse. Prisoners have a higher prevalence of most of these precipitating factors compared to the general population. In addition, the prison regime and environment may further interfere with the sleep-wake cycle due to the interruption of usual daily routines, and lack of personal autonomy etc. Lack of control over physical environment is also likely to cause further disturbance.
Analysis of sleep related data collected from 569 inmates suggested that 61 inmates had sleep difficulties as they slept for 3 hours (or less) on an average. The data also reveals that only 11% had sleep difficulty before being incarcerated which increased to 74% on admission in prison which shows scope for CBT-I at start.  CBT-I was conducted with these 61 inmates and feedback/data analysis reveals that there has been a significant improvement in quality of sleep/sleeping duration of these inmates (66% had benefitted) over a period of three months. Prisoners who participated have acknowledged the improvement in their sleep duration and quality.
After the successful conduct of this intervention at District Jail Jammu, CBT-I is being conducted at Central Jail Jammu, Kotbhalwal with a target group of 74 inmates.

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