Creating a softened citizen by rehabilitation, a aim –
Minister of Prison Reforms
The jail complement in a nation is one that has undergone severe
criticism in a domestic circles and a media for decades and they
have turn some-more exposed places in a many vicious stages of the
country in a past. The new occurrence in Vavuniya jail and many
other incidents in other prisons became prohibited topics among a public
during a past few weeks.
Though we cruise these places usually as places to reason prisoners, the
role of a prisons also contributes a lot to emanate a softened multitude in
the country. The methods used there to scold a wrong doers is more
vulnerable in a routine of formulating a softened economy and better
society as that routine in a prisons unsuccessful that will impact a whole
efforts of a multitude to emanate a softened nation after whole country
was expelled from a clutches of terrorism in 2009.
Therefore, a Sunday Observer interviewed Rehabilitation and Prison
Reforms Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera to get a softened suspicion about the
prison complement and their destiny skeleton to pierce softened adults out of
these prison. Following are a excerpts of a interview.
Q: We unequivocally frequently speak about Prison Reforms. Can we give us a
brief suspicion about a standing of a jail complement in a nation and why
we need such reforms to a prisons?
A: Within a 107 years of existence of a Prison Department after
it was finished a apart Department, a administration structure has not
undergone full changes. Therefore it needs vital reforms. The existing
prisons were determined underneath a 3 pillars Custody, Care and
At benefaction a series of prisoners entering these prisons are on the
increase. But if we take a new past there is no such vital increase
on an annual basis. But per year there are about 100,000 prisoners
entering and exitting from a prisons. Out of this series 50 percent
are remand prisoners and a change is convicted prisoners.
Therefore we can contend during benefaction a jail race is around
27,000 to 29,000 in all prisons sparse in a country. Out of that
figure 50 percent are remand prisoners. Out of them also 70 per cent are
sent to prisons due to drug associated offences and of them also 35 to 40
percent are for regulating analgesic drugs.
Therefore, vital territory of people in prisons is for drugs related
offences. In addition, there are other prisoners for murders, thefts,
burglary, child abuse, passionate abuses, and rape cases.
Q: What are a methods used for a reconstruction of these
A: For a reconstruction programs we have to make use of various
aspects such as counseling, religion, environment, arts, creative
activities, sports, cultured activities etc. What we have celebrated in
this routine is, many of those who have participated in this routine are
returning with a good mindset after undergoing a rehabilitation
Through a activities we have found a lot of creativity among them.
They were a ones who combined a biggest Vesak Pandal, a longest New
Year Greeting Card and Deyata Kirula exhibition. What they requested
from us was to urge their skills.
Q: Do we have a apart module to uplift a preparation turn of
these youths as good as a other prisoners?
A: It was with a goal of stability a disrupted preparation of
these girl prisoners we motionless to settle a apart Prison school.
We have sealed a MoU with a Education Ministry and laid a foundation
stone for this propagandize during Watareka.
Under this module we are awaiting to yield preparation for those
who could not finish their O/L, A/L and undergraduate courses. We are
going to yield them comforts to have residential preparation to
restart their preparation from a indicate they were stopped.
They will also be given opportunities to urge their artistic
skills and creativity, sports and other skills also. We are also getting
ideas from them and also formulation to have this school, holding an example
We have also sealed a MoU with a Youth Affairs Ministry to improve
the skills of other prisoners too. We are providing them a training,
enabling them to get National Vocational Qualification (NVQ). Once they
get this certificate they can do a pursuit anywhere in a world.
This is stability successfully in a prisons in a country. Along
with that module we have also instituted a module to yield informal
education for a womanlike prisoners and others such as domestic affairs,
handicraft and other skills. This module is being successfully
continuing in Jaffna, Weerawila and Pallekele prisons.
Q: What is your final aim by initiating such programs at
A: Through these programs we have suspicion of dedicating one prison
for one product. We have given mercantile targets for any prison. We are
expecting them to minister towards a inhabitant economy. Through that
also we are awaiting to have softened reconstruction for them.
Through a knowledge we know that these prisoners are carrying major
changes in their life when they rivet in these activities and closely
associate with a softened environment. When we take Thaldena and Weerawila
we have softened gardens and there we have prisoners with drug related
offences. We suspicion that it is softened to rehabilitate them without
giving them punishments.
Most of them are drug addicts and we suspicion of deliberation the
addictiveness not as an corruption and channel them towards rehabilitation
process along with a Dangerous Drugs Control Board.
We are stability a module along with them. If we are means to
rehabilitate 70 percent of them we can effectively revoke a prison
population; since many of a prisoners regularly returning to the
prisons are drug addicts. So we can revoke that series effectively.
Q: It seems that a existent prisons are not carrying adequate room to
accommodate a series of prisoners. What is a module we have to
ease a overload in prisons?
A: As a whole there is outrageous overload in a prisons due to large
number of prisoners entrance to these prisons. To solve this emanate we have
to enhance a existent prisons. There are problems in expanding the
prisons in a strange locations itself. So, we have suspicion of
shifting these prisons from a undiluted areas. Accordingly we have
planned to change a Welikada Prison to Watareka and Mahara.
We are changeable a whole jail though gripping a remand jail in
Colombo. For that we are now in a routine of identifying a suitable
location. Accordingly, we are changeable a Bogambara jail to Pallekele.
Now we are in a routine of constructing a Pallekele Prison for this
purpose. We are aiming to finish this plan by a finish of this year.
We can reason scarcely 3,000 prisoners in Pallekele prison. We are expecting
to finish this by Sep this year.
When implementing this module we are focusing on carrying some-more open
air prisons as this would assistance us for a reconstruction routine of
prisoners. Therefore we are perplexing to get locations with some-more space.
Q: People are articulate about a prisons in terms of a weight to the
national economy. What do we have to contend about this?
A: We are perplexing to get a prisoners to minister towards the
national economy. Whatever pronounced and done, we have been means to reduce
the losses for a dishes of a inmates.
Last year we gave them a charge to revoke that shortcoming by 50 percent by
cultivating their possess crops for food. That year we were means to reach
close to 50 percent target. Through activities in a prisons we have
been means to minister Rs.145 million for a Treasury in a past
year. Apart from that, from coconut bombard colourless we have been means to
contribute several lakhs and from a washing territory Rs. 4 million.
Within a initial half of this year we have been means to contribute
more than 4 million to a Treasury by a activities. That is why
we cruise this jail race as a vital mercantile energy house. If
we can cruise a tellurian apparatus we have in these prisons, they are
more people who have several talents. If we can make use of this human
resource by their talents we can make use them as major
contributors to a inhabitant economy. That is what we are focusing
through a reconstruction process.
Q: We hear about protests and other aroused incidents in prisons.
What are a reason for these incidents and don’t we have mechanisms to
control such incidents?
A: Prisoners have no right to rivet in protests since there is an
official procession within a prisons to brazen their grievances. They
have to brazen their complaints to a gratification officers and that should
go to a Prison Superintendent and to a Minister by a Ministry
Secretary. Only if such mechanisms unsuccessful that they have a right to
launch such protests. They can have craving strikes and other peaceful
protests on roof tops or any place though they don’t have any right for
them to take jail authorities as hostages. If they violate this
process, that is an corruption underneath a Prison Ordnance. We have a
Tribunal in a Prison Department and they can be punished for violating
those procedures. Their jail tenure can be extended by limit of six
months from this tribunal.
Q: Recently there was an occurrence during a Vavuniya prison.
A: The occurrence in Vavuniya was due to a send of one invalid to
Boossa on a Court order. The inmates in Vavuniya jail were intent in
a quick perfectionist that a pronounced invalid should be brought behind to Vavuniya.
They have taken 3 officials during a jail as hostages to stage
this protest. Generally, a jail authorities do not have powers to
change a justice order. There are justice procedures for that purpose. They
can interest for that.
Without adopting that procession if a inmates are intent in violent
activities, they should be punished according to a law.
To equivocate that conditions a jail authorities did not have enough
manpower. Therefore, we had to find Police assistance and rescue the
three officials who had been taken as hostages by a inmates. But in
this occurrence they have been means to successfully finish a operation
without regulating a singular bullet and get a 3 officials released.
Q: In your opinion what was a ground behind this occurrence and how
did your Ministry and a Prison Department control that situation?
A: When such incidents start in a prisons there is a bent for
people to panic. Some media have highlighted a occurrence as observant that
the LTTE has taken over a prison.
There is bent to awaken community feelings among a people
through such news. We have taken effective measures to equivocate such
situation by deploying special confidence arrangements for a prisons
where there are LTTE inmates.
We have 10 such prisons where LTTE inmates are kept. We have given
strict instructions to a officials to equivocate any incidents in those
prisons. Because there were elements who wanted to emanate another black
July. we have to emphasize this fact that some people indispensable to create
yet another Black Jul and take those passed bodies to awaken a communal
The community groups are in a North and South are straightforwardly lined up
for such activities. If a officials did not respond to this situation
in a obliged manner, currently a whole nation would have been in
flames. we am of a opinion that there was a large swindling behind this
They approaching a officials would attack a LTTE inmates in other
prisons and kill them. We avoided that situation. Our officials acted in
a most trained manner. We gave a LTTE inmates a unequivocally good security
and were means to equivocate any hapless incident.
Q: But some domestic parties and a Human rights groups are
pointing a finger during a Government for a genocide of LTTE invalid Nimala
A: The final outcome of a postmortem hold into a genocide of Nimala
Ruban has not been given. The Magistrate Inquiry will be hold compartment July
19. Without a final outcome of a post mortem no one can contend how his
death occurred. The Prison Authorities have reported to us that he has
been a studious who taken remedy in a past also. But nothing of us can
say a accurate reason for his death. That has to be suggested usually during the
Magistrates Inquiry. But some people are speculating that he has been
assaulted and put to death. Some people are perplexing to take a political
mileage out of this situation.
If we unequivocally wanted to kill him during that operation itself, we
could have finished so to save a lives of other officials. The Government
had a legitimate right to save a lives of a officials taken
hostage by an offencive operation. But we did that even without
using singular bullet. There is no need for a Government to kill one
such chairman after intent in an model reconstruction routine to
rehabilitate a LTTE cadres.
Q: In a prisons there are LTTE cadres with tentative conference of their
cases. What are a stairs taken to assist a routine of conference their
cases and channel them for rehabilitation?
A: The Government has also taken initiatives to speed adult a hearing
of cases opposite these LTTE inmates after substantiating special courts in
three places. The Justice Ministry will start a Mannar High Court this
week as they have already allocated a Judges and a applicable staff
for this. From subsequent Monday they will start a conference of cases. In
Anuradhapura there will be a special section for a conference of a LTTE
cases. That will also be started in this month. In Vavuniya High Court
too there were skeleton to assist a routine of conference of these cases.
With a incident, there is a problem with courtesy to expediting the
process. But we will assist this routine also unequivocally soon.
Apart from that, out of a other LTTE inmates around 400 inmates
have given their agree to bear reconstruction by letters to
us. We have sensitive this to a Justice Ministry, Attorney Generals
Department and a Police Department.
Therefore, they will brand those who should bear the
rehabilitation, and a Rehabilitation Commissioner underneath a Ministry
will have a good shortcoming to rehabilitate them.