‘Prisons to be converted into rehab centres’
Around 800 prisoners to be released
Dharma Sri Abeyratne in Matara
Around 800 prisoners convicted for minor
offences will be released to coincide with National Prisoners’ Day.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that a
Presidential amnesty has been granted to these prisoners who will be
released today and tomorrow, Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minister
Chandrasiri Gajadeera said.
These prisoners have undergone a
The prisons system has to be subjected to a radical change so as to
make a prisoner a more responsible person in society, President Mahinda
Rajapaksa said. President Rajapaksa was addressing a gathering yesterday
at the Sanath Jayasuriya Stadium, Matara to mark National Prisoners’
The President was welcomed at the venue by thousands of prison
inmates performing dances and other cultural items.
The President said that prisons will be converted into rehabilitation
centres rather than prisons. ‘Prisoners are human beings’. By
implementing such changes, prisoners will be transformed into
responsible citizens who will be assets to society.
The President added that he was familiar with prisons since he was a
prisoner at one time.
“I learnt that there are humans among prisoners when I was in prison.
‘When I was imprisoned, my mother passed away. I was unable to visit
my mother before she passed away.
‘However, prison inmates came to me and expressed their condolences
sharing my sorrow. They grieved with me on that day,” the President
The President noted that the abilities of prisoners have to be
identified. There should be a mechanism to develop these abilities and
talents so as to use them for the country’s development.
‘The government has fulfilled many promises, which were deemed
impossible. Terrorism has been eradicated from the country. Border
villages are a thing of the past. ‘We removed the word ‘Border villages’
from our vocabulary.
‘The words Prisoner, prison will also be reformed in a similar
manner, President Rajapaksa added.
“We have to do a conceptual change. Then only prisoners will get the
due respect they deserve when they re-enter society.
‘Everyone has to make their contribution to turn the prisoner into a
‘The government will bring this nation to a position of greatness in
the world by implementing the Mahinda Chintana - Vision as future
The government will establish a better future for you and your
‘This country will be driven forward with courage and vigour,
strength and confidence,” the President said.