ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 35

Released prisoners return to crime: Prisons Dept.

By Malik Gunatilleke

Close to half the prisoners released from prison revert to crime and return to prison, according to Prisons Department statistics.
This situation has left the Government with the task of monitoring released prison inmates and providing them alternate livelihoods.

Prisons Commissioner General Vajira Wijeyagunawardena told a media conference that released prisoners found it difficult to revert to a normal life due to social stigma.

He said because prisoners are unwanted by society after their release they have no other option but to return to the criminal lifestyle they were accustomed to.According to statistics, 42% of inmates are in prison for drug related offences while 55% of offenders are from the Western Province. This situation has caused concern amongst the public and the authorities alike.

According to Prisons authorities, of 13,000 prisoners jailed for drug related offences, more than 10,000 are from the Colombo District.

To arrest this situation, the authorities have decided to target the Colombo district for educating the public on matters concerning released prisoners and the social bias against them.

The authorities plan to involve local authorities to monitor the lifestyles and behaviour of prisoners after their release. The Government also intends to provide job facilities to released offenders through the Ministry of Industrial Development.

This course of action includes developing various industrial skills of inmates while in prison so that they can find jobs in those fields after their release.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.