Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Hanim has stated that fifty of the “best disciplined” inmates have now been chosen to take part in the ministry’s government’s labour programme.
The first project for which the inmates have been selected is the construction of roads in industrial island Thilafushi.
The government has still not revealed the amount of pay inmates will be entitled to after completing the work, although Hanim echoed Home Minister Umar Naseer’s statements that half of each inmate’s pay will be taken for the development of the prison system, while the other half can be saved or sent to the inmates’ families.
Hanim revealed that prison guards will be overseeing the work of the prisoners, as well as accompanying them on the transfer trips to and from Thilafushi to Maafushi, where the prison is located.
“We have selected the best of the inmates for this work. This is a very special initiative taken by the Home Ministry to contribute to finding a solution to many problems faced by the nation, including the need to employ foreign labourers,” Hanim is quoted as saying to local media.
“When we make inmates do work that would otherwise be done by immigrants, it also has huge benefits to our economy. Additionally, this gives the opportunity for inmates to financially assist those who have to take care of them,” he said.
Minivan News was unable to contact Deputy Minister Mohamed Hanim for comments.
Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer initially announced the project in late December 2013.
“There is no country in the world where inmates are not made to work. This administration’s aim is to make inmates in our jails work in various government projects. To bring them out of their current situation,” Naseer had said then, at an event announcing the government’s policies on youth development.
While the labour program is voluntary, detainees will be selected based on their disciplinary records during the time in detention and their suitability for the work to be conducted.
Naseer predicted that by the end of 2014, 400 out of 730 inmates will be working on some project, thereby preparing them for reintegration into society.
In order to prepare detainees for such work, the ministry further plans to introduce vocational training programs in Maafushi Island prison in the near future. The program will desensitise them to work environments and hone a number of skills, he said.
Umar Naseer was not responding to calls at the time of press.