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House arrest for civil offences to mitigate prison overcrowding

Laws being drafted to be passed this year

by damith
February 5, 2024 1:17 am 0 comment

Justice and Prison Affairs State Minister Anuradha Jayaratne said those found guilty of civil offences will be placed under house arrest to reduce overcrowding in prisons. The programme to place those guilty of civil offences under house arrest will be implemented this year, he said speaking to journalists in Kandy.

He said that the relevant laws are currently being drafted by the Legal Draftman’s Department and after the completion of the work, it will be presented to the Parliament and made into a law this year itself.

He further said that with the implementation of this programme, several Acts such as the Bail Act will have to be amended. Also, those placed under house arrest will be monitored through GPS technology, which will be done by the prison officers and the nearest Police station to ensure they remain under house arrest without violating the imposed conditions by Courts.

The State Minister said that there is only room for about 13,000 inmates in the prisons, but the number in prisons today has increased to 33,000.

He said that 65 percent of the inmates who are currently in prisons are convicted for drug offenses and the government’s aim is to rehabilitate them and provide them with some professional training and such programmes have now started in Prisons countrywide.

Prisons Commissioner General Thushara Upuldeniya said the Justice Ministry is working to amend laws to refer the suspects who are in prison to judicial proceedings through online methods, instead of taking them to Courts. He said that this program is being formally implemented in the Southern Province with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes and the related legal amendments will be made focusing on its implementation throughout the country.

He said that when the Court Judges agree, proceedings like extending the trial dates is done for inmates through zoom technology and added referring inmates online for Court proceedings will also help to reduce the problems that arise when taking some high-profile criminals to court proceedings.

Asela Kuruluwansa

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