Rawalpindi, (Parliament Times) : A two-day seminar held recently brought together national and international experts to discuss the development and validation of a risk/needs assessment tool for probation in Pakistan, known as the P-SAP. This initiative aims to improve the effectiveness of the probation system by utilizing better assessment methods and resource allocation.

The seminar featured prominent speakers with diverse perspectives on the subject. Dr. Mazahar Hussain Bhutta, Project Investigation officer and Chairman Department of Sociology PMAS-ARID Agriculture University Rawalpindi emphasized the importance of a thorough development process for the P-SAP tool. This includes a comprehensive review of existing literature, strong theoretical foundations, and data collected from real-world probation cases.

On behalf of Vice Chancellor, Aqeel Sultan Registrar of PAMS-ARID Agriculture University Rawalpindi, announced a significant development – a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the Punjab Government and the university. This MOU aims to work collaboratively on improving the probation system in Pakistan and facilitate the distribution of resources needed for effective implementation.

Dr Qadir Alam AIG Prisons Department Punjab, provided valuable context by discussing the various components of the criminal justice system in Pakistan. This included the roles played by police, probation officers, and prisons, alongside exploring different theories of criminal behavior.

Dr. Nadia Khadim`s Co-PI project LCF local challenge fund HEC. HOD law department FJW university Rawalpindi, presentation focused on the legal framework that governs probation in Pakistan. She highlighted the primary objectives of probation, which lie in the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. She also emphasized the importance of probation as a form of community service, offering an alternative to incarceration.

On behalf of Muhammad Shahid Iqbal, DG of probation and parole service, Hafiz Sultan as focal person, Hafiz Muhammad Sultan, Assistant Director Rawalpindi division probation and parole service home department of Punjab, shed light on the challenges faced by the system, particularly the high caseload managed by individual officers with limited resources. He emphasized how effective assessment tools like P-SAP can significantly improve case management and resource allocation.

The seminar also acknowledged the valuable contributions made by Prof. Shelley Brown of Carleton University and the Department of Sociology in supporting the development of the P-SAP tool. This collaborative effort signifies a positive step towards a more effective and efficient probation system in Pakistan.

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