Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi
12 Dec, 2020 | 5:23 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): Steps will be taken to release close to 5000 inmates before 31st December 2020, and a mechanism is in place to release inmates who are imprisoned for minor offences, Lohan Ratwatta, the State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation said on Saturday (Dec. 12).
“There exists a severe issue of congestion at prisons, where there are 29 prisons and two rehabilitation centres in the country that can accommodate only about 11,000 inmates. However, at present, there are 25,000 inmates detained at prison complexes,” State Minister Lohan Ratwatta told News 1st.
According to the Minister, at the time he assumed duties there were around 28,000 inmates and it was reduced by about 3000, upon releasing inmates who were arrested on charges related to minor offences and failed to settle the fines or sign for bail.
Responding to a question raised on the findings of the committee appointed to probe the recent Mahara Prison riot, which stated that there was a certain degree of responsibility on the part of the prison officials and authorities, the Minister said he does not agree with the discussion that followed in parliament following the report being tabled.
According to the State Minister, the Opposition only spoke about one part of the report, without reading the entire content.
“When you look into the report’s content clearly, my opinion is that the report is completely unbiased, factual and we will act according to the recommendations,” State Minister Ratwatta further noted.
Thereby, News 1st questioned the Minister on whether he is of the opinion that the report is unbiased but the Opposition’s claims are biased, State Minister Ratwatta said the Opposition’s claims were baseless as they purely spoke on the matter without reading the full report.
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