Jaffna prison overcrowded

[TamilNet, Monday, 22 December 2003, 18:19 GMT]
The Jaffna prison, which is located in a small private building on Main Street in the town, has been overcrowded with convicted prisoners and suspects on remand, prison sources complained Monday. Currently, more than two hundred and fifty prisoners have been kept in the prison building, the sources said.

Prisoners serving jail sentence are now kept in Jaffna prison instead of them being sent outside the district. Meanwhile, several Indian boatmen who were arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy while poaching in the northern territorial waters have also been kept in the Jaffna prison as cases against them are pending in Jaffna courts, prison sources said.

The Prisons Department does not have a building of its own in Jaffna. Recently, Mr.John Amaratunge, who then held the Interior Ministry portfolio in Sri Lanka, visited the Jaffna prisons and promised that he would find a spacious building for prison or to find building for prison department in Jaffna district, sources said.

But no action has been taken on his promise. With the subsequent take-over of the Interior ministry by Sri Lanka’s President, Mr. Amaratunge’s assurances may be ignored, sources said.

Prisoners have also complained that due to lack of space in the present prison building, they have been undergoing untold hardships and their basic facilities have been deprived in the prison, sources said.

 

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