They will no longer have to feel dejected on their return to society
A programme launched by the Department of Prisons is working to rehabilitate prisoners by teaching them farming skills to enable them earn a living once they are out of prison. When life offers a second chance, it’s important to be equipped with the right skills to make the best of the opportunity. Programmes such as these are therefore an integral part of the overall rehabilitation framework to prevent re-offending.
The project would be implemented for inmates with some knowledge in agriculture, where they would receive a house with their families and a farmland. 25 inmates who would be completing their sentence have been recommended for the initial phase of the project, Rehabilitation and Skills Development Prisons Commissioner Chandana Ekanayake said.
While emphasising that most prisoners after completing their sentence fall back to a cycle of repeat offenses, as they tend to lose purpose and exploit their new freedom, he said that they need guidance to rise to life’s challenges on their own.
Mr. Ekanayake said this programme would be launched as a result of discussions between the business community and the plantation owners under the supervision of the Commissioner General of Prisons Wijenath Thennakoon.
Moreover, he said Pallekele, Weerawila, Thaldena and Anuradhapura inmates have been directed to special farmers’ training programmes and emphasised that the existing system revolving around the prisons and freedom should be changed, stressing the need for complete reform of the prisons system.
He said that once prisoners are released to society, their rejection by their communities and some prisoners’ rejection even by their families has consistently been a severe issue.
As a result of such rejection, the lack of kindness, love and sensitivity due to the prisoner’s conflicted mental state, invokes fear in the society, Mr. Ekanayake said.
While stating that wrongdoings were in a way a path towards righteousness, he said the new project would gift the country with a valuable labour force. The Prison Commissioner said he believed that this project would be strengthened under the new government and they hoped to begin the first phase of the project in January.