By Jayantha Samarakone [Daliy Mirror 18 Oct 2010]
A large scale centre for corrections would be built in Wellawaya with enough capacity to take over the inmates from eight Prisons including Welikada, the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms said.
Among the others prisons that would be closed down are the Mahara, Negombo, Galle, Matara, Tangalle, Embilipitiya and Badulla prisons. The Correction Centre, which would be an open prison, is to be located in part of the land allocated to build an Airport and plans are underway to allocate around one thousand acres for the project. The construction work would commence utilizing a Chinese loan facility soon.
The planned correction centre was expected to accommodate 10,000 inmates, deputy minister of Prison Reforms Vijithamuni De Soyza said. He said that the government had decided to bring all jails under one roof in one facility instead of spread throughout the country as it was now. Construction work on the open prison would commence next year, the Deputy Minister said. The facility would be replete with facilities such as agricultural land with an irrigation tank, giving the opportunity for prisoners to engage in farming, work camps, vocational training and rehabilitation work and other activities for the inmates.
The Deputy Minister said that these reforms were carried out with the intention of reducing congestion in urban prisons and to use some of the inmates as a labour force in development work.