When 50-year-old Ramesh (name changed) from Arcot was discharged from prison four years ago, he was at a crossroads. His family had deserted him. The Discharged Prisoners Aid Society (DPAS), Vellore, came to his rescue and he set up a tailoring shop in his locality.
“Initially I faced some stigma, but now people treat me with respect as I am working hard. However due to the lockdown, business is very dull. I am struggling to make ends meet now,” said Ramesh.
DPAS members claim to have helped 200 discharged prisoners in the last 10 years in the combined Vellore and Tiruvannamalai districts.
“Our main aim is to ensure that the discharged prisoners do not enter the world of crime again. With the help of probationers, we find out about people who are struggling to earn a livelihood and offer to help to set up businesses in areas they are skilled at. One man from Arani sought help to set up a tiffin stall, and with hard work he has made it into a hotel now,” said S. N. Janardhanan, secretary, DPAS.
The DPAS on Saturday distributed a kit with 23 grocery items to 16 people, including two women, who were discharged from prison last year. “They had been struggling without any income due to the lockdown, as they were not able to get any work. So we decided to help them. There is enough supply to last for two months,” he added.
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