Sri Lanka committed to make prisons system more humane

SwaminathanThe Government says it is committed to make the prisons system more humane and effective by adhering to the UN international standards.

Minister of Prison Reforms Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M. Swaminathan said the Ministry is taking steps to provide water, sanitation, adequate medical care and other basic needs for the prisoners in accordance to the minimum requirements prescribed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The Minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 3rd Asia Pacific Regional Correctional Managers’ Conference in Colombo today.

Swaminathan said the Ministry of Prison Reforms is making preparations for the relocation of the Welikada Prison and it is also conducting pilot projects to check the feasibility of establishing a dog unit to tackle the drug issue in prisons.

“Using modern technology for security measures in prisons, professionalising the staff at the Prisons Department, improving the rehabilitation programmes provided for prisoners are the other areas that we are focusing on to improve the standards of the prisons system in this country,” he added.

Twenty officers from the Sri Lankan Department of Prisons are participating in the Correctional Managers’ Conference and the Minister said he is convinced that the programme will assist local officers to balance both security and humanitarian needs in prisons.

“Both these factors need to be improved in our prisons system and prisons cannot be effective correctional centres if these two factors are poorly managed. Hence I believe that the theme of this conference is both timely and practical not only for our country but to the entire Asia Pacific Region,” he said.

The Minister said Sri Lanka is keen to carry out reforms in the prisons system while adhering to international standards such as the Mandela Rule and the humanitarian requirements prescribed by the ICRC. (Colombo Gazette)