The minister said so participating in the committee stage debate on budget 2015 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms.
He said that initiatives had been taken to create an environment where prisoners’ rights were respected. “The prisons are being re-located and they are being re-designed to help and provide facilities necessary for the officials serving there. The government spent 4996 million rupees to construct Angunakolapelassa Prison. The prison complex comprises of swimming pools, kindergarten schools and constructed in a manner to improve relations with the surrounding village. Plans are being made to reduce congestion in the Matara and Trincomalee prisons.
The Deputy Minister said that there were around 23,000 inmates in the country’s prison system and the cost of their maintenance was borne by the government. “The Prisons Department has commenced a programme under the instructions of the Minister of Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms to help the inmates become self-sufficient in various ways. The inmates produce food, vegetable, fruits inside the prisons premises for their needs. Today we are actually converting the prisons to rehabilitation centres where the inmates are provided with opportunities to obtain education and vocational training,” the minister added. (Special Reporter/HC)