DOST works with the most vulnerable groups in prisons, which include women and children, juvenile offenders, drug addicts and others. These prisoners are at greater risk of abuse and exploitation than others and also lack the social support of their families.

 

"DOST is the only NGO I will welcome to this jail, we work together as partners... No prisoner who has been through DOST's program has returned to this prison".

Mr Khalid Abbas - Peshawar Prison Superintendent


Women and Children, and Juveniles
Women in prison are incarcerated on various charges, but most are victims of poverty, injustice, abuse and exploitation. The majority of these women are charged with drug trafficking and are often rejected by their family and so have nowhere to go on their release. Many of these women have their young children in the prison with them or arrive at the prison pregnant. For these children there are limited opportunities and they suffer from impeded physical, mental and social growth and development due to poor nutrition, lack of health care, education and social interaction beyond the prison confines.

Juveniles are also detained mostly on drug carrying and vagrancy charges. Once in prison, they lose total contact with the outside world and are presumed missing or dead. In the prison, they are victims of exploitation, depression and anxiety with no hope of release.

For these people, DOST creates self-help, healing communities that provide human rights protection and rehabilitation services. Abuse and exploitation has virtually stopped in all the prisons where DOST works. Services provided by DOST include psychosocial counselling, life skills education, legal aid, healthcare, recreational activities, and vocational skills development. The juveniles and minor children receive formal and non-formal education.

Stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be rich or poor.
Al-Quran, 4:105

 

Drug Addicts

Drug Addicts were the most marginalised of all the prison inmates, living in filthy and overcrowded conditions, and denied most of the facilities available to the other prisoners. DOST built a new barracks in which a therapeutic community for drug users has been established. They are given complete treatment and rehabilitation services, and the same facilities allowed to the other prisoners. They are now helping prison authorities to identify and weed out drug abuse within the prison.

"I have high regard for the work you are carrying out with prisoners who have drug abuse problems. I was particularly interested to observe that the foundation adopts a holistic approach that embraces not only the prisoners, but also their families and the communities into which they return when they are released. I believe that this approach is not only humane, but also effective in preventing and treating drug abuse, and rehabilitating the victims.

the UNODC is currently developing a programme to improve drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention in the prisons of Pakistan. I hope DOST will consider participation in that project and contribute its expertise and experience".

 Antonio Maria Costa,   

 

Executive Director of UN office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)