By Piyumi Fonseka
Following the discovery of two cells equipped with luxury utilities inside the Negombo Prison, the Department of Prisons has transferred 23 prison officials including 8 Superintendents and 15 Assistant Superintendents with immediate effect.
Commissioner General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya speaking to the media yesterday said the move to replace the prison officials was also a result of the direction of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who had called for rectifications in the department. Expressing his displeasure over rampant malpractices within the prions, the President was critical of the deteriorating situation within the prisons, which, he insisted, should be rectified immediately.
Upuldeniya also said several measures have been taken to ensure the prevention of illegal activities within the prisons. Accordingly, a unit for the public to submit their complaints related to prison officials and also prison inmates who are still serving sentences has been declared open on Monday at the Prisons Head Quarters. “The public will be able to send us any complaints against prison officials or prisoners by calling us on 011-2678600,” Upuldeniya said.
Speaking on the much-talked discovery of luxury cells inside the Negombo Prison, the Commissioner General said that the Superintendent of the Negombo Prison has been transferred pending an investigation done by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and an internal disciplinary inquiry by the Prisons Department. Further action against the official will be taken based on the outcome of the inquiries to find out his associates because the department believes the practice of favouring convicted drug kingpins must have been carried out with the assistance of other officials in the department. Meanwhile, in an attempt to provide jobs for inmates has been launched by the department. They have provided job opportunities for a selected group of 120 prisoners who are serving 7 year jail terms. According to Chandana Ekanayake, Commissioner General of Prisons (Rehabilitation and Administration), the selected group of prisoners will start their new jobs on Monday at a construction site under heavy security and the supervision of prison department officers. “As the first phase of this programme, we have selected 120 prisoners. They will be paid a salary for their work,” he said.