New York, May 23: India's top woman police officer Kiran Bedi has been conferred honorary doctor of laws degree by the prestigious City University of New York's (CUNY) school of law in recognition of her "humanitarian approach to prison reforms and policing."
"Dr Bedi is best known as a leader who applies management methods that counter adversarial relationship between the police and the community and between prison guards and inmates," the citation said.
Addressing law experts, faculty members and students, Bedi said she had doctorate from IIT, New Delhi, on the basis of dissertation she wrote on drug abuse and domestic violence. But the degree conferred by CUNY is more important in the sense that it was because of the work she had done to give shape to what she wrote.
Earlier during an hour-long interaction with the faculty members and students, she was closely questioned about meditation and role it could play in reforming the prisoners.
The methods she used in reforming prisoners are closely studied at the law school and she had interaction with the school during her two-year stint as the civilian police adviser to the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.
A university official said she was nominated for the honorary degree unanimously by the students and faculty members who were very impressed by her work.
In her administration of the Tihar prison, the largest in India, Bedi integrated contemplative practices such as yoga and meditation, social programmes, and human rights policies to radically improve prison conditions while reducing violence and corruption of both guards and inmates, the citation said.
Besides her professional contributions, the citation noted that Bedi founded two organizations that have been nationally and internationally recognized. As a drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation service, Navjyoti received the United Nations serge Sotifoff Memorial Award for its treatment of over 12,000 drug addicts.
The India vision foundation provides childhood education, literacy and vocational counseling and rural development for the poor in remote areas of India.