Thwarted Mahara jailbreak: CPRP raises concerns on liveability within prisons

The Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners (CPRP), while criticizing attempts by inmates to escape as being outside the law, urged the authorities to create a conducive environment within prisons, to allow for practical liveability.

The Committee stated this in reference to an incident on 3 May, where several inmates at the Mahara Prison had allegedly attempted to escape, by scaling the prison walls at around 3:00 a.m. using ropes and bed sheets. 

However, one inmate is reported to have fallen from atop the wall and had subsequently died upon admission to the Ragama Hospital, owing to the injuries sustained from the fall, while the others had been recaptured when the prison guards fired in the air. Two prison guards had also sustained injuries during the incident and had also been admitted to the Ragama Hospital. The inmates involved are reported to have been imprisoned on charges of drug related offences.

Speaking to Ceylon Today, CPRP Chairman, Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera, said that attempts to escape were against the Prisons Ordinance. However, the prison authorities, as stated in their vision and mission statements, have an obligation to protect and safeguard prisoners, he said.

He also pointed out that there is congestion within prisons, and urged that an environment conducive for liveability be set up within prisons, in a practical sense, by prison administration.

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