Tech Valley

Transformative Skills Initiative for Women Prisoners in Sindh

5th December 2023: The province of Sindh has emerged as a trailblazer in the reform of colonial-era laws governing the prison system in Pakistan. Striding ahead of its counterparts, Sindh repealed the  Prisons Act of 1984 and ushered in a new era with the introduction of the Sindh Prisons and Corrections Service Act and Rules 2019. The focal point of the new rules is a marked shift towards corrections and rehabilitation within the prison system.

Under the umbrella of these progressive reforms, the Committee for the Welfare of Prisoners, in partnership with Tech Valley Pakistan, has initiated a transformative project aimed at empowering women prisoners. For the first time in history, Google Certificates have been made available to women incarcerated in the Women’s Prison Karachi, as well as female prison staff.

Rather than being mere facilities of confinement, prisons are increasingly viewed as institutions with the potential to mold individuals into productive members of society. The partnership with Tech Valley Pakistan signifies a strategic step towards equipping women prisoners with tangible skills, thereby enhancing their prospects of employability upon release. This initiative recognizes the pivotal role skill development plays in the rehabilitation process. The Google Certificates program not only imparts valuable skills but also represents a tangible effort to break the cycle of recidivism. By offering a pathway to meaningful employment, the initiative aspires to transform women prisoners into contributing members of society.

The Committee for the Welfare of Prisoners, in collaboration with the Women Aid Trust, recently hosted a ceremony in the Women’s Prison Karachi to honor women prisoners and prison staff who completed their first course under the Google Certificates program. The ceremony was attended by DIG Women’s Prison & YOIS Sheeba Shah and Superintendent YOIS Humaira Quayoom. DIG Sheeba Shah emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts, she highlighted that true reform within the prison system necessitates the combined commitment of various stakeholders, including governmental bodies, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. She highlighted that this initiative, with its focus on skill development, not only empowers women prisoners but also demonstrates what can be achieved when different entities come together for a common cause

Sindh’s proactive approach to prison reform to address the immediate concerns of the prison population and contribute significantly to the broader goal of societal betterment serves as an example for other provinces. It is hoped that the momentum generated by these reforms will inspire a nationwide shift towards a more rehabilitative approach within the criminal justice system. The partnership between the Committee for the Welfare of Prisoners and Tech Valley Pakistan, with its focus on skill development, exemplifies the potential for positive transformation within the prison walls. It is a testament to the belief that even within the confines of incarceration, individuals can be nurtured to become assets to society, offering them a chance at redemption and a more promising future.