Prison system to be revolutionized next year

Home Minister Imran Abdulla has stated that an effective solution to the congestion faced at Maafushi Prison will be in place before the end of next year.

Speaking at a ceremony held Tuesday to appoint parole officers, Minister Imran said the prison system will be revolutionized during the upcoming year.

While some prisoners who are to be transferred to Maafushi Prison are currently being held under police custody, the government wishes to rectify the situation, said the minister.

Earlier this week, prisoners at Maafushi Prison went on a hunger strike in an effort to protest prisoners being held at Dhoonidhoo Prison under the custody of Maldives Police Service instead of transferring their custody to Maldives Correctional Service.

Following the incident, the police revealed that 58 prisoners who are to be transferred to Corrections' custody are currently being held at Dhoonidhoo Prison under police custody. While 50 of these prisoners are to be transferred to serve out their sentences, the remaining 8 detainees are those awaiting remand. However, Corrections is unable to take charge of the prisoners due to lack of space at Maafushi Prison, informed the police.

In his remarks on Tuesday, Minister Imran shed light on the issue and said the congestion is faced due to lack of space at the prison. While the Maafushi Prison has a capacity of 1300 prisoners, over 2000 prisoners are currently being held at the prison, revealed the minister.

The minister said after the plans made by the Home Ministry are put into action next year, a viable solution for the space constraints will be reached. In this regard, Minister Imran spoke on plans to build a new prison at Hdh. Neykurendhoo.

"Hopefully, when our plans are put into action next year, the congestion issue faced by the prison will be relieved. Next year, we will commence the construction of a prison at Hdh. Neykurendhoo, and the country's prison system will be revolutionized," said Imran.

Imran added that the government has undertaken more efforts during the current year than what has been done in the past ten years. When the projects planned for next year are completed, the type of jails envisioned by the country's citizens will be established, said the minister.