Feb 15, Colombo: The first report of the inter-institutional task force appointed to identify judicial and legal reasons for minimizing congestion in prisons and prison reforms will be presented in parliament.
The inter-institutional task force has recommended several measures to reform the country's overcrowded prisons to reduce the congestion. Among others, the task force recommended use of community based corrections productively instead of imposing imprisonment.
Other measures recommended include:
• Fully implementing provisions in Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act No 4 of 1995 enabling the payment of fines as instalments instead of imposing imprisonment for those who fail to pay fines
• Until prosecutions are made in High Courts regarding cases which the Magistrate's Court has no jurisdiction, to continue such cases in Magistrate's Court and implement a Management Information System for preventing misplacement of files
• Release persons retained without prosecuting on a bond and magistrates visit to prisons once a month according to provisions of the act
• Utilizing Police Bailing method according to provisions in Bail Act No. 30 of 1997
• Considering the ability of reducing death penalty to life imprisonment
• Construction and relocation of prisons
• Creating a suitable and secured environment for detainees and staff of prison
The joint proposal Minister of Justice Wijayadasa Rajapaksa and Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M. Swaminathan to present the report in the parliament was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.