Prison congestion issues must be resolved: PG

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem has stated that state entities must work together to find a solution to the prison congestion issue faced by the country.

Earlier this week, prisoners at Maafushi Jail 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.

Expressing concern on the issue on social media platform Twitter, PG Shameem said section 1005 of the Penal Code allows for conversion of punishments to non-custodial sentences wherever possible. In this regard, the Prosecutor General's Office is working in liaison with the Attorney General's Office and Ministry of Home Affairs to explore such options to resolve the issue of prison congestion, said the PG.

Media Official from Maldives Correctional Services, Ahmed Naseem revealed to AVAS that Corrections is currently making arrangements to receive custody of the prisoners being held under police custody. While the congestion issue at Maafushi Prison is extremely challenging, the authority is undertaking efforts to resolve the issue, he added.

"We are always working to resolve the issues faced by the prisoners. In this regard, we are working to receive the custody of the prisoners who are currently under the custody of the police. We are exploring options to effectively resolve the issue of congestion faced in the Maafushi Prison," Naseem said.