Locations: Mumbai, Thane and Bharuch

Sponsor: Sir Dorabji Tata and Allied Trusts, HDFC Ltd., ONGC Ltd., Prayas Income Generation Unit, individuals, and charitable trusts

Prayas is a social work demonstration project of the Center for Criminology and Justice, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, established in 1990. Prayas focus is on service delivery, networking, training, research and documentation, and policy change with respect to the custodial/institutional rights and rehabilitation of socio-economically vulnerable individuals and groups. To this end, permission to visit criminal justice or custodial institutions and interact with persons detained or confined in police stations, prisons and government residential institutions in Maharashtra and Gujarat has been obtained from the Departments of Prisons and Women and Child Development


To contribute knowledge and insight to the current understanding of aspects of CJS policy and process in India- with specific reference to socio-economically vulnerable and excluded communities, groups and individuals who are at greater risk of being criminalised, or exposed to trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Prayas Objectives:

  1. To demonstrate the need for social work intervention in the criminal justice system such as police stations, prisons, courts and institutions for women.
  2. To work towards the rehabilitation of persons coming out of or vulnerable to crime, sexual exploitation or destitution.
  3. To improve access to the legal rights of persons processed by the criminal justice system and to promote the use of the correctional laws to aid rehabilitation of vulnerable groups.
  4. To identify issues relevant to rehabilitation and attempt to address them at policy level.
  5. To increase awareness in government and society about issues related to rehabilitation of persons affected by crime, sexual exploitation or destitution.
  6. To generate knowledge in the field of social work, criminology and corrections through the analysis of field experience.

Geographical coverage

  • Prisons in Mumbai, Thane and Bharuch Districts
  • Government Protective Home for women rescued from sexually exploitative situations in Mumbai
  • Kasturba Mahila Vastigraha (government run shelter for women distress)
  • Courts and legal aid systems in Mumbai, Thane and Bharuch

Who does Prayas Reach Out to?

  • Women and youth under trial prisoners and those being processed by the criminal justice system; and their families (including children of women prisoners left outside, while the mothers are inside);
  • Women and girls rescued by the police from sexually exploitative situations;
  • Destitute women and girls, especially those vulnerable to crime and/or commercial sexual exploitation; and
  • Women or youth referred by personnel within the criminal justice system, voluntary organisations, ex-beneficiaries of Prayas and the general public.

Why does Prayas work with these groups?

  • Persons drifting into exploitative situations have done so as a result of their past experiences and social circumstances.
  • They have adopted alternative supportive structures and behaviors to counter life situations.
  • Having been subjected to a series of exploitative situations, they may get drawn to behaviours that are destructive to self or others.
  • Separation from the family and other cultural units has resulted in exclusion from mainstream society.
  • They need support to prevent their further exclusion from society.
  • Every person rehabilitated adds to a contributing member in the legal economy.

The Approach

To facilitate a process where a person shifts (away) from an environment conducive to crime or sexual exploitation to one that offers stability and safety in following areas:

  1. Shelter
  2. Income in the legal sector
  3. Increasing connections in mainstream society

This is expected to reduce the chances of a person resorting to or being subjected to exploitative behaviour.

What does Prayas do?

Social workers and training instructors visit different settings including prisons, police stations and government run institutions for  women. Services such as information and awareness programmes, educative sessions, family support and legal aid are focused upon. This is done with the objective of establishing rapport and to provide information about rehabilitative services.

In order to counter problematic individual and environmental situations, a programme has been designed to replace illegal/inappropriate acquaintances, behaviors, and support systems with those that are socially acceptable. A team comprising of social workers, vocational training instructors, and counselors based in Mumbai and Bharuch operatefrom Development Centres for male (youth) and women.

Rehabilitation Plan

The plan is implemented on a phase-by-phase basis, as below:

  • Emergency support is provided including medical aid, house repair and rent, legal aid, child support, travel to hometown, etc.
  • Shelter facilities in institutions, hostels, and group homes are arranged for persons who cannot live with their families, due to past behaviour, family circumstances and social stigma.
  • Family support and counselling services is provided to ensure support and enable the family deal with difficult circumstances while also supporting the person who has been/being processed by the criminal justice system.
  • Education, vocational training and job creation are explored, with special focus on the welfare sector. Accordingly, trainees are placed in the voluntary sector which lends itself for providing a protected, supervised and socially conducive environment for development of social and technical skills necessary for economic and social upgradation. A stipend is provided to trainees during the placement period (ranging from three months to two years).
  • Legal documents are obtained in order to help a person exert rights as a citizen. He/she is also encouraged to gain access to public systems like nationalized banks, the health system and welfare schemes.


  • January 2017, Dialogues in Criminal Justice and Rehabilitation [ Download ]
  • October 2016, Dialogues in Criminal Justice and Rehabilitation [ Download ]
  • June 2014, Amulya Balpan (Precious Childhood) [ Download ]
  • December 2012, Dialogues in Criminal Justice and Rehabilitation [ Download ]
  • August 2012, Dialogues in Criminal Justice and Rehabilitation [ Download ]
  • December 2011, Dialogues in Criminal Justice and Rehabilitation [ Download ]
  • November 2011, Dialogues in Criminal Justice and Rehabilitation [ Download ]
  • November 2010, Dialogues in Criminal Justice and Rehabilitation [ Download ]

Reports, 2015

  1. Impact on Field, Policy, Law and Procedure (1990-2014) [ Download ]

Reports, 2012

  1. Initiating Work In Prison Settings: Handbook Series on Social Work in Criminal Justice [ Download ]
  2. Initiating Work with Children of Prisoners: Handbook Series on Social Work in Criminal Justice [ Download ]
  3. Social Work Intervention at Police Stations: Handbook Series on Social Work in Criminal Justice [ Download ]

Reports, 2009

  1. Laws Related to Rehabilitation of Offenders in Criminal Justice [ Download ]
  2. Study of Socio-Economic Situation and Rehabilitation needs of Women in Dance Bars [ Download ]
  3. State Level Workshop on Social Work Intervention in Criminal Justice [ Download ]
  4. Report of Maharashtra State Level Workshop on Situation of Children of Prisoners [ Download ]
  5. Seminar on Role of Duty Counsels and Legal Aid Lawyers: issues and suggestions [ Download ]
  6. Training Programme On Legal Information For Social Workers In Criminal Justice [ Download ]
  7. Forced Separation : Children of Imprisoned Mothers (An Exploration in Two Indian Cities) [ Download ]
  8. Report of the National Workshop to Review the Implementation of Laws and Policies Related to Trafficking: Towards an Effective Rescue and Post-Rescue Strategy [ Download ]

Reports, 2007

  1. State Level Workshop on Probation Services: Issues and Challenges [ Download ]

Annual Reports

  • Prayas Annual Report 2015-16 [ Download ]
  • Prayas Annual Report 2014-15 [ Download
  • Prayas Annual Narrative Report 2013-14 [ Download ]
  • Prayas Annual Statistical Report 2013-14 [ Download ]
  • Prayas Annual Report - 2012-13 [ Download ]
  • Prayas Annual Report - 2011 -12 [ Download ]
  • Prayas Annual Report -  2010-11 [ Download ]

Articles about Prayas

Prayas Products:

Contact Details:
Prayas Production Unit (Income Generation Unit)

Prayas, BDD Chawl between Bldg. No. 15 & 16
Buddha Vihar, Near Jambori Maidan,
Behind Poddar Hospital,
Worli, Mumbai - 18
Sadanand Dalvi: 9969769893/94
Mahesh Ghosalkar: 9869193321





Development Centres

Women’s Development Centre
Room No. 49
2nd Fl, Guilder Lane Municipal School
Mumbai Central, Mumbai
Tel: 022-23004429/23005329

Youth Development Centre
Room No. 61 & 62,
4th Fl, Sadhvi Savitirbai Phule Municipal School,
Byculla, Mumbai.
Tel: 022-3019583

109, Vadilo Na Ghar
1st Fl, Near Kasak
Bharuch Gujarat
Tel: 0264-2226618