Prisoners unable to pay fines released under special pardon

Prisoners who have been unable to pay fines have been released under a special pardon.

The Prisons Department said that as part of moves to reduce congestion in prisons across the country, a decision was taken to release inmates in jail after being unable to pay fines.

Prisons Department Commissioner Chandana Ekanayake said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had pardoned the inmates.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had last month ordered urgent action to be taken by relevant authorities to address and resolve shortcomings related to prisons in Sri Lanka.

A Presidential Task Force was also appointed by the President to address the issue.

The President further instructed officials to look into the possibility of constructing prisons to ease the congestion in existing prisons.

Meanwhile, State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte had said that steps are being taken to reduce the number of prisoners in order to address the congestion issue in the prison system.

The State Minister pointed out that there are 28, 951 inmates in the 28 prisons across the country.

Accordingly, the Minister stated that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has issued a directive to release inmates who can be granted a pardon especially given the coronavirus situation. (Colombo Gazette)