This administration has improved jail conditions: Home Minister

Home Minister Imran Abdulla has said the current administration had done more than any other government to improve jail conditions.

Speaking at a ceremony held Friday night where prison officers graduated from Maldives Correctional Service's Custodial Management and Security Program, Imran said when the current administration took over, they were well aware of the jail conditions and had a vision for reform.

Describing jail conditions as a national issue that needs addressing, Imran said the administration's efforts to improve jail conditions were in line with ensuring human dignity and fundamental human rights. Highlighting some work done by the government, the minister said the current administration compiled a special audit to assess the condition of jails. He added that while most issues mentioned in the audit report have now been resolved, pending work is being overseen by a special committee.

The minister acknowledged that most buildings in jails were dilapidated. He assured that the matter would be addressed before the end of the current term. He added that the administration has successfully started providing special training to jail officers under a reliable system.

According to Imran, over 2,000 inmates are currently in Maldives Correctional Service's custody. He said the current biggest challenge was having only 600 officers to cater to the large population of inmates. He said 180 new officers would be hired by Corrections this year, further noting that 200 current officers had received promotions during this term.

The minister urged newly graduated officers to practice patience in the work environment. He said it was the responsibility of jail officers to refrain from reacting negatively or raising their hands in an undesirable manner. He urged them to respond with kindness and gentleness.

Thirty-five officers took their vows in Friday night's ceremony.