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Thursday, 14 March 2013

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Minister aims to bring down prison inmate number



Minister
Chandrasiri Gajadheera

It is expected to bring down the number of prison inmates from 26,000 to 15,000 by the end of 2014, said Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minister Chandrasiri Gajadheera. The government policy is to establish rehabilitation centres to reform wrong doers rather than to establish more prisons, he said.

Minister Gajadheera was addressing a meeting after opening a new building at the Vavuniya Remand Prison on Tuesday.

He said the majority of person inmates were drug addicts. Such persons would be sent to Rehabilitation Centres rather than prison. The first such Rehabilitation Centre will be built in Polonnaruwa in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Bureau. He said after discussions with the Chief Justice, the ministry made arrangements for magistrates to visit prisons and grant bail to inmates remanded due to their incapacity to make payments for granting bail. It is hoped to make arrangements to refer others unable to pay their dues to correction centres.

Gajadheera said the majority of prison inmates had not received education beyond grades 5 to 8. Under the National Education Policy, steps would be taken to provide them with non-formal education.

Rs 19 million was set apart for the establishment of school education villages for the benefit of prison inmates. He said all those who are sent to jail are not diehard criminals. They should be treated with a sense of humanism.

The minister who requested prison inmates to cooperate with prison officials without resorting to violence, said that as a result of a violent incident caused by certain inmates on June 28 last year, all inmates had to be transferred to the Anuradhapura prison causing inconvenience to their families and relatives.

He said despite human rights violation allegations made against the government by the Tamil diaspora and other sinister forces, it had treated nearly 12,000 hardcore terrorists taken into custody in a humane manner and reintegrated them with society after rehabilitation.

The minister who appreciated the service rendered by Prison officers under difficult conditions, said the President had directed the Ministry to recruit more officers to fill vacancies.

Ministry Secretary G S Vithanage, Prison Commissioner General P W Kodippili, former Deputy Minister Premaratne Sumathipala and Presidential Co-ordinating Officer Sivanathan Krishore also spoke.

 

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