Over 12,335 prisoners released to reduce congestion | Sunday Observer
Talks on fate of long-term inmates

Over 12,335 prisoners released to reduce congestion

17 January, 2021

The authorities have released 12,339 prisoners since December 1 last year aimed at reducing congestion in the country’s jails, a senior official said yesterday.

Prior to their release the inmates were subject to Polymerize Chain Reaction (PCRs) as a precaution against the Covid-19 pandemic, Prisons Spokesman, Commissioner Chandana Ekanayake said.

Among those released were 371 female inmates, he added.

The majority of those released were convicted prisoners who had defaulted in court fines and bail was provided for inmates held in remand, Commissioner Ekanayake added.

Officials are also due to hold discussions with the subject minister today aimed at releasing some 700 long-term prisoners.

“This, however, will be done on a case by case basis,” he said.

The maximum capacity in the country’s 28 jails is 11,000 and the number was 32,000 prior to the state pardon that began on December 1 last year, he said.

At present there are 18,000 prisoners throughout the country, Ekanayake added.

Earlier, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered the release of prisoners especially due to the Covid-19 pandemic.