New initiative to help women in protective custody

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 AMMAN - The Jordanian National Committee for Women (JNCW) on Tuesday announced the formation of a panel to follow up on national efforts to help women in protective custody.

“The aim of the committee is to coordinate the activities of organisations working in this field and develop legal, psychological and other services provided to women in protective custody and female inmates in general,” JNCW Secretary General Asma Khader said.

Focus will also be placed on methods to help prevent women from committing offences that could lead them to prison, she noted, adding that this will be accomplished through conducting legal awareness campaigns.

The committee will comprise representatives from the relevant ministries, local and international governmental and non-governmental organisations that handle matters related to juvenile centres and services provided to women in protective custody, Khader said.

In addition, the committee includes senior officials from correctional and rehabilitation centres, lawyers and journalists, she added.

The aim is also to work on strategies to support female inmates after their release from prison, such as securing jobs for them and providing mental support to “overcome the social shame of being locked up in prison”.

At the same time, work will continue on raising public awareness on the need to accept the reintegration of female inmates into society, Khader added.

Colonel Wadah Hmoud, director of the correctional and rehabilitation centres administration, said the PSD considers women in protective custody as victims of their own circumstances.

He noted that there are 237 women at the Jweideh Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre (JCRC); 73 of them are held for administrative reasons, 73 have been convicted and the rest are being tried at courts.

“We are trying our utmost to encourage the female inmates to enrol in training programmes that would qualify them to learn a profession so that they can depend on themselves when they are released,” said Colonel Hana Afghani, head of the JCRC.

But Afghani added that the centre is in need of more training courses to encourage women to learn something new, get some hope and leave the prison strong and ready for the outside world.

“The committee will meet on regular basis to draft strategies, find the best methods to push forward ongoing efforts and think of additional ways to help these women,” Khader said.