Anuradha Jayaratne, State Minister for Justice and Prisons, has announced plans to submit a bill to Parliament this year concerning the house arrest of convicts who have received civil penalties. This proposed system, introduced as an alternative to prison overcrowding, will primarily focus on minor offenses.
Under the new program, convicts placed under house arrest will be monitored using GPS technology. Amendments to the Bail Act are expected to accompany the introduction of this system to ensure its successful implementation.
Minister Jayaratne highlighted the current prison overcrowding issue, stating that the prison system, designed to accommodate 13,000 prisoners, currently holds 33,000. He emphasized the problems arising from the overcrowded conditions, including conflicts and health issues.
The State Minister mentioned the Justice Operation, which results in nearly a thousand people being taken into police custody daily. To address these challenges, the proposed rehabilitation and vocational training program aims to equip inmates with skills, allowing them to reintegrate into society as trained professionals.
As part of this initiative, vocational training, including bakery products, has been introduced. A comprehensive report on the inmate training project, conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and reputable institutions like the Vocational Training Authority, is expected to be released in the coming fortnight.
The opening ceremony for the vocational training program took place at the Pallakele Prison, attended by Prison Commissioner General Thushara Upuldeniya, Prison Superintendent Sujeewa Wijesekera, and Pallakele Prison Assistant Prison Superintendent I. G. Perea, among others.