The cases filed against heroin addicts have increased by 64% in 2019 and the drug menace has to be controlled before it becomes a national disaster, Justice, Human Resources and Legal Reforms Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said.
He said the Justice Ministry would launch a major rehabilitation programme for drug offenders next Wednesday and provide better facilities to detainees.
Addressing a function held today to hand over stock of paints, and building materials to renovate and colour paint the Welikada Prison, the minister said some inmates had ended up in prison as a result of social victimization and therefore society must look at prison inmates in a humane manner.
“In many instances, prison inmates have been victims of social injustice, discrimination and duplicity. Prisons must not be punishment centres but rehabilitation or correction centres. We must put an end to a return to prison by offenders. The main reason for this sorry state of affairs is that we don’t have a proper rehabilitation programme,” he said.
With the launching of the new rehabilitation programme on Wednesday at the Welikada prison, inmates will have the opportunity to learn an international language, access to vocational training and skill development while paying attention to the welfare of the families of inmates.
"Efforts will be made to ease prison congestion. To do that contribution of the Attorney General’s Department, the Police, Department of Government Analyst, Judicial Service Commission is essential. The Justice Ministry has conducted several round of talks with these state establishments and a positive result could be expected in the near future with a new programme to address the problem of prison congestion," the minister said. (Sandun A Jayasekera)