Prisons recommends Rs 24B investment in relocation drive
By Paneetha Ameresekere
The Prisons Department recently released a development plan covering 2021 to 2025. It envisages a total investment of Rs 24.28 billion where Prisons in Colombo would be relocated to the outstation.
The largest cost component is the relocation of Colombo prisons and is estimated that it would cost Rs 9,975 million or 41.1 per cent of the total investment.
The Department in a document titled ‘Prison Reforms Five-Year Plan (2021-2025)’ said the main reason for relocation was to reduce congestion. It was stated that ‘Relocation of old prisons in urban areas and setting up new prisons according to international standards, a successful example being the relocation of the Tangalle Prison to the Angunakolapelessa Prison.’
The report further said though the capacity of existing prisons was for 11,762 inmates; there was more than double that figure at 25,110 at the end of 2019.
Meanwhile, the Department envisages relocating the Colombo Remand Prison and the New Magazine Prison to Pallansena, Gampaha and Watareka, Kurunegala at a cost of Rs 3,750 million each, relocating the Welikada Closed Prison to Wanathavilluwa, Puttalam or to a suitable place at a cost of Rs 1,975 million, relocating the Centre for Research & Training in Corrections to Mahara or any other suitable location at a cost of Rs two billion and relocation of Prison Headquarters at Dr. Danister de Silva Mawatha, Colombo at a cost Rs 1,500 million closer to Colombo.
Among some of the other recommendations was the construction of a new drug rehabilitation centre at Wirawila, adjoining the Open Prison Camp at Wirawila at a cost of Rs 2,000 million, completion of the balance work at Dumbara Prison, Pallekelle to relocate the Bogambara Prison at a cost of Rs 2,250 million, relocation of the Matara Remand Prison to Kotawilawatta at a cost of Rs 2,950 million and relocation of the Trincomalee Remand Prison to Kappalthurei at a cost of Rs 1,150 million.