Prisoners must be given the chance to rehabilitate, says Nasheed

Parliament Speaker and President of the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Mohamed Nasheed, has said prisoners jailed for crimes must be given a second chance.

Nasheed, who will go head to head with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in MDP's presidential primary slated for Saturday, made the statement while meeting with Male' youth in Male' Lonuiyaaraiy Park.

Nasheed said that there are too many inmates in jails and that prisoners should be given a second chance.

"There are too many youths in jails now, too many people. Parliament goes to inspect the jail from time to time. The [jail's] population has grown. It is essential to bring them and teach them and give them new skills and reintegrate them into society," he said.

Nasheed said it would be very difficult to move forward while pretending that 30 percent of the youth population is non-existent. The youth should be brought into society and cared for, he said. Drug addiction is a disease, and it needs treatment, he said. Therefore, effort must be made to find a treatment that works, he said,

"There should be a proper second chance program," Nasheed said.

During Nasheed's 2008 rule, he implemented a second chance program for prisoners. They were taught skills that would help to reintegrate them back into society and were provided with employment opportunities.