Justice Minister Ali Sabry last week announced a program to allow prisoners with a record of good behaviour to make home visits under strict conditions.
“Prisoners need to prove their good behaviour to be qualified for this privilege,” the Minister said after visiting the Welikada prison on Thursday to look into the issues and demands of a group of death row inmates engaged in a rooftop protest for several days.
Sabry said he hoped to consult the Chief Justice in order to devise a mechanism to expedite cases as well.
He had a cordial discussion with the fasting prisoners and was briefed on the current problems they faced.
Matters raised included delays in filing appeals, reduction of sentences for good behavior, proper implementation of the rehabilitation system, the establishment of a common criterion for all prisoners in granting pardons, and setting up a system to inquire into the well-being of prisoners and their families.
The minister who listened to the problems of the prisoners stated that there are people who continue to make mistakes as well as people who make mistakes once in a lifetime; an opportunity should be provided to them to rectify those mistakes.
Sabry said his attention has been drawn to the need for a system to reduce prison terms of those who have been jailed for a long time if their conduct was good. He also assured that he, on the instructions of the president, will take necessary action to expedite the implementation of solutions to existing problems.
He said that steps will be taken from the date of his visit to make the necessary arrangements for this and that prisoners should abandon their fast until such arrangements are made.
Secretary to the State Ministry of Prison Management and Prison Rehabilitation, Retired Major General VR Silva, Commissioner General of Prisons, Thushara Upuldeniya, and a group of prison officials were associated with the minister during his visit.
(Source: The Island)