Criminal Justice Fellowship Programme (2015-2019)

Locations: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Sponsor: Tata Trusts

As an Institute that holds the legacy of many firsts and a strong belief in working with the marginalized and vulnerable sections, it is only fitting that we encourage our students to work on issues that involve taking the road less travelled. Apart from the Institute granting fellowships to its alumni, the School of Social Work (SSW) had also initiated Fellowships as a joint initiative of the School with NGOs, whereby six fellowships were granted between 2007-2010 in the areas of education, health and gender.

Our experience with fellowships has shown that they are an effective way to nurture talent and explore challenging issues in the field. Documentation and analysis of the work done by the Fellows can also help build indigenous knowledge in the field of social work education and provide faculty with scope to engage in the field around key areas of practice. While most alumni move into existing spaces of work, there is a small group ready to open up new fields of practice and strengthen capacities among trained human resources towards bringing social change.

In the past, faculty involvement with field issues and organisations engaged in grassroots and/or policy advocacy work helped build their understanding about field realities and identifying gaps which led to initiating field action projects (FAPs). One way to initiate FAPs has been to initiate field work placements by social work students in critical and emerging areas of field practice.

The criminal justice fellowship program started in the April 2015 and is offered for a period of two years. There are 15 fellows working in different states in India i.e. Delhi, Karantaka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. They are working on different issues within the broad theme of criminal justice i.e. Mob Justice, Legal Aid in Prison, NT-DNT, Rehabilitation of women and children in prostitution, Working with children in Observation home, custodial deaths, sexual violence, transgender community and issues of women workers in unorganised sector.


The Criminal Justice Fellowship is a field intervention based fellowship offered to the alumni of the School of Law and the School of Social Work, TISS. The core idea behind this initiative has been to encourage new areas of work, especially where there is a dearth of trained human service professionals, and to demonstrate the scope and potential of working on critical issues.

Themes under the broad umbrella of Criminology and Justice

  1. Prison populations – Under-Trial prisoner’s convicts children of prisoners, women, youth and men.
  2. Women and children in custody – women rescue from prostitution, destitute women, and children of women in prostitution, juvenile in conflict with law.
  3. Homelessness and beggary laws.
  4. NT-DNT.
  5. Police station – work with vulnerable populations.
  6. Victims of crime and their families.
  7. Legal aid and access to justice for marginalized population.
  8. Rehabilitation of persons coming out of custody.
  9. Prevention of crime community based work.
  10. Rural crime and justice.
  11. Violence against women and children.
  12. Compensation.