President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday stated that rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates while reducing repeat offending are core to the government’s policies. He made the statement while speaking at the ceremony held to mark the 51st anniversary of the Maldives Correctional Services.
The President emphasised the importance of rehabilitation by stating that the first ever drug rehabilitation program conducted in a Maldives prison was successfully completed by 32 inmates on the 2nd of this month. He said that prison reform has a broader objective of restoring and reviving society.
Elaborating on prison reform policies, President Solih said that the recommendations made in prison audits conducted as part of the administration's first 100-day pledge were being incorporated into efforts to improve the prison system. The President also revealed that the administration had begun adapting the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (“the Mandela Rules”) and that the process of familiarising prison officers with these standards was also underway. He added that a programme called "Fahi Furusathu" was launched in 2020 for inmates released on parole for reintegration into society.
In his speech, the President stated that the Prisons and Parole Act was being amended to improve the parole process in order to reintegrate inmates back into society. He also referenced the recently published study “Prison Radicalisation in the Maldives” conducted by the Transparency Maldives and highlighted that there was a prevalence of inmates convicted on drug related charges being influenced by religious extremism in prisons. He revealed that a special 100-person capacity unit was being built on Maafushi Prison, where special reintegration programmes for extremists would be carried out.
At Tuesday's ceremony, the President presented commemorative plaques to Maldives Correctional Services employees who had served for 25 consecutive years.