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 Prisons chief wants Defence Ministry to take over jails

by Norman Palihawadana

Due to the continuing failure of prisons authorities to keep banned items out of the country’s penitentiaries and high level corruption among jail guards, Commissioner General of Prisons P. W. Kodippily yesterday urged the Defence Ministry to take over the prisons.

The Commissioner General said he strongly believed that rioting prisoners had been able to break into one of the prison armouries because of the help extended to them by some prison officers.
Those corrupt prison officers, he said, were very much against the police/army raids conducted on prisons to weed out drugs, cell phones etc, as the raids affected their nefarious dealings with the prisoners.

Meanwhile, leading members of the Buddhist clergy, too, were of the opinion that in order to arrest the fast deteriorating situation in prisons it was best to place them under the Defence Ministry.

Kodippily also said they had now recovered all the weapons taken by the prisoners after breaking into one of the prison armouries. On Friday night, the police erroneously said the rioting prisoners had broken into two armouries and had armed themselves with 250 T-56 assault rifles and 90 pistols.

When The Island inquired from police spokesman SSP Prishantha Jayakody about the exact number of weapons taken by the prisoners, he said he was not aware and requested us to get the exact figures from the prison authorities. But we were unable to get through to anyone responsible in the prisons ministry at the time of going to press.

The Criminal Investigation Department, which is probing into the riot, is of the opinion that it was well organized and they want to question prisons officers who suddenly took leave on that day as there was strong suspicion that the prisoners had been tipped off about the raid well in advance.
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