By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent
During the last 11 months, 67 prisoners have absconded of which the authorities were able to capture 23, Minister of Prisons Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs informed the parliament this week.
Explaining the procedure followed by the Prison Authority in the case a prisoner escapes, the Minister said, “The Superintendent of the respective prison will have to file a full report at the nearest police station. Apart from that, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, other prisons in the country and the Registrar General of Fingerprints are informed via telephone.”
Responding to a supplementary question raised by UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana on action taken against prison officers who support the escapees, the Minister was unsure of the procedure and stated, “Definitely an inquire will be held. I am not sure how these officers help them escape while in custody. Inside prisons the use of telephones is banned and jammers are in place. But things are taking place with the support of jailors.”
During 2013, the number of prison officers taken into custody for providing mobile phones to prisoners stood at 12. These officers were in service at Colombo Remand and Magazine prisons at the time of arrest.
Curbing the drug menace inside the prison system, the Minister has assigned narcotic duties to sniffer dogs of the Police Department.