PRAJA Penal Reform and Justice Association.
2003
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Why PRAJA?

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Why PRAJA?

PRAJA was set up in 1996 to examine the need for reforms in our criminal and penal justice systems. Institutions of the State that have been specifically designed to provide equal, fair and accessible justice for all seem unable to fulfill their objectives. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the health of these institutions is intricately interwoven with the general socio-economic health of our society.

PRAJA aims to highlight the relationship between social and formal (institutional) justice. Through research and dissemination of information about good practices Praja works towards reforms that bring justice closer to people and above all to vulnerable groups.

PRAJA's efforts towards reform and change in the criminal justice system have focused primarily on:

  • Prison conditions (including overcrowding)
  • Independent inspections of prisons
  • Greater transparency in prison management
  • Fundamental basic human rights for prisoners and staff
  • Reducing the load of pending cases in courts
  • Creating informal windows for redress of grievances of the vulnerable and powerless
  • Encouraging the use of mediation and counselling for dispute resolution to prevent disputes contributing to major crimes
  • Making the legal machinery more accessible for one and all
  • Addressing the causes of crimes and making efforts to reduce them
  • Preventing women and juveniles from being adversely affected by harsh custodial regimes
  • Assessing and promoting the use of good practices (such as Open Prisons, Community Service for small time offenders, setting up Counselling Units for reducing the damage caused by locking up and raising legal and general awareness.)
  • Exploring alternatives to imprisonment