At a conference held at the Kandy District Secretariat to discuss the ways and means of socialisation of prisoners after completion of their terms Commissioner General of Prisons Major General Vajira Wijegunawardena said over crowding of prisons had caused many problems in prisons and that problem had been aggravated by the return of 50 % of those with fresh convictions.
Major General Wijegunawardena said prisons were over crowded by 400 per cent and a majority of the inmates were remand prisoners and drug offenders. At least 9000 were held on drug related charges. The Commissioner said maintenance of prisons was a difficult task and the Government spent around Rs 250 on each prisoner for meals alone.
The majority of the inmates were from poor families. Many prisoners on leaving jail didn`t find their wife and children at home. It was imperative that measures should be taken to support the family of the prisoner during his absence, Wijegunawardena emphasised
Many remand prisoners held for long periods were discharged without a case being filed against them. In 2005 of the 100,000 remand prisoners only 33,000 were convicted. The balance 67,000 were later released had to be maintained by the Government for long periods
Commissioner of Prisons (Welfare) M.B.Ratnayake said many who left prisons after some technical training did well in life and successfully manage their families. He said that society should also change its attitude.
Messrs Gamini Seneviratne, and M.B.Ratnayake District Secretaries of Matale and Nuwara Eliya respectively, Central Province Chief Secretary P.G.Amarakoon and Additional District Secretary, Kandy B.G.H.M.Sugathadasa also spoke.