Myriads of unhappy women feel overwhelmed by formal legal processes and a criminal justice system they believe to be ridden with gender and other biases. Personal crises, whether in their captive lives or in correctional institutions, leave women facing dead ends and crossroads that cause lasting visible and invisible damage to body and mind if t addressed. They need help that is professional without being intimidating. In Conflict and Custody recommends fine-tuned agenda-free professional counselling as the most constructive method of addressing the mental health issues of women in two problematic contexts in the Indian society-conflict and custody. The book imparts theoretical and practical guidance for trainers and would-be counsellors to equip them for therapeutic counselling of women faced with a range of personal, social, and legal problems. It demonstrates how professionally conducted therapeutic intervention can be the most empathetic way of enabling and empowering distressed women to take charge of their lives.
Rani Dhavan Shankardass is the Secretary General of Penal Reform and Justice Association (PRAJA), Gurgaon, India, and the President of Penal Reform International (PRI), London, UK. Born in Allahabad, Dr Shankardass was educated in Nainital, Lucknow and Allahabad. She received her M.A. degrees from Allahabad University, India, and University of Pennsylvania, USA, and M.Sc., M.Litt. and Ph.D. degrees from the Cambridge University and the University of London, both in UK. She has worked as a lecturer in Political Science at Kamla Nehru College, University of Delhi, India, and was a senior fellow at Centre for Contemporary Studies, Teen Murti House, New Delhi, India. She has been awarded the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) Fellowship for her article 'Debt Bondage: The Survival of an Ancient Mechanism' and the Nehru Fellowship for 'Prison, Punishment and Criminal Justice'. Her published works include The First Congress Raj: Provincial Autonomy in Bombay (1982), Vallabhbhai Patel: Power and Organization in Indian Politics (1986) and Of Women Inside: Their Yesterdays Todays and Tomorrows 2011). She was also the editor and contributor to the book Punishment and the Prison: Indian and International Perspectives (2000) and the co-author of Barred from Life and Scarred for Life: The Experiences of Women in the Criminal Justice System in India (2004). She has been carrying out extensive research on penal reform in South Asia, as well as mental health and care of women in prisons and custodial justice.