Many prisoners have experienced deeply traumatic events in their past which makes it vital for PA Nepal to monitor and care for their mental health. Wherever possible, PA Nepal employs social workers within both the male and female prisons to provide psychosocial support and counseling. These social workers also provide supervision, monitoring, record keeping, and reporting for the welfare support programs. A disproportionate number of prisoners have mental health conditions or learning disabilities, and as such PA Nepal continues to raise awareness and actively campaign for the rights of these individuals. With the help of mental health specialists, PA Nepal runs programs that provide and teach reflexology, acupuncture and music therapy to mentally ill prisoners.
Because of widespread gender discrimination, female prisoners are often even more isolated than their male counterparts. Social stigmas make life after prison very difficult particularly as many women are solely responsible for caring for their children and other dependent family members after their release.
Due to these added pressures, PA Nepal specifically focuses on supporting female prisoners, especially those whose children are in the organization’s care. The organization conducts welfare support programs in Pokhora Women’s Jail, the Kathmandu Central Women’s Jail, Dhulikhel Jail, Nakhu Jail, Chitwan Jail, BiratnagarJail, Birjung Jail and Jhapa Jail.
PA Nepal also supports education programs in many prisons with the aim of improving the women’s welfare, literacy and employment prospects. Entrepreneurship skills such as sewing training programs, bakery training, and mushroom farming give women the opportunity to develop skills that will help them to break the cycle of poverty and abuse.
Another important part of PA Nepal’s work within the prisons is health education. Women in prisons have a higher chance of contracting diseases such hepatitis, HIV, and tuberculosis due to close quarters and substandard conditions. Female prisoners are trained to recognize early symptoms, and how to practice first aid. This training is accompanied by packages of nutritional supplements, hygiene products, and clean clothing and bedding. PA Nepal has also conducted childcare courses at the Central Women’s Jail, Birgunj Jail, and Palpa to help prepare imprisoned mothers to successfully care for their children full time after their release.