Nadra`s masterstroke – 21 May 2023

IN insecure times, Nadra`s effort to leave little to chance should garner appreciation. The authority recently announced its NSOR platform, which provides a text message verification service that will help citizens and organisations track sex offenders. As reported, Nadra`s chief claimed the measure will shield women and children from physical and sexual violence as house help, personnel in educational institutions, mosques and workplaces can be verified. The database will also bolster ways to identify and locate reprobates. Understandably, this imparts a sense of reassurance and protection, and silences riled quarters that believe security is far from a priority for the government.

Still, the move does raise ethical queries. Such as, where safeguarding a vast section of society is vital, is it forcing those who have served their sentence to live more dangerously? Many states have programmes in place to ensure adequately monitored, safe reentry of released individuals into society.

These include carrying out polygraph tests at the onset of post-release management and then intermittently to confirm compliance. The information is shared with law enforcers, lawyers and social workers to facilitate ex-offender integration, whereby employment and social compulsions are possible.

The US has `community correctional officers` tasked with unscheduled home visits for an extra layer of care. However, socialisation processes are proportional to the gravity of crime; for example, serial offenders or those charged with child abuse should not be set free and monitored within the ambit of regular reformatory models as they require entirely controlled environments. The idea is to avoid creation of social pariahs; alienation is impetus for crime. Moreover, women ex-convicts face abandonment by their families, and require abiding assistance. The path from prison to community is not smooth.

However, it mustn`t be mired in challenges for services such as NSOR to be effective. The concept of safety excludes isolation.

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