Government shuts down ‘Second Chance’ program for inmate rehabilitation

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed announced that the government intends to shut down the Second Chance Program, alleging that the former administration had used the program “to release unqualified criminals under political influence and without any clear procedure “.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, the Home Minister alleged the program was politically influenced and claimed that it was set up in violation of the parole system and the Maldivian laws.

He claimed that several inmates who did not qualify for social re-integration were released during the program based on a list approved by then-President Office.

The “uncontrolled release of criminals” over the recent years had threatened the public safety, Jameel further alleged.

“The [incarcerated] criminals have been released without any control in the past days to a level public safety has been threatened. Those criminals were released by sidelining the Maldivian laws,” Jameel claimed.

According to him, a total of 1879 criminals were incarcerated for various offenses during Nasheed’s term, but only 621 are currently remaining in prisons while 1258 have been released with no clear procedure.

Therefore, he said that the program will be shut down and all its responsibilities will be tasked to the Parole Board and Clemency Board, which will be re-formed in the coming week.

However, both boards have been criticised over the years for being “slow and ineffective”.

“All hope lost”

In an interview to Minivan News following the government’s announcement to shut down the program, former Manager of the Second Chance initiative, Aishath Rasheed said that the Parole and Clemency board “does not have the technical expertise to continue the program”.

“I was a member of the parole board. Both boards exist as mere names. Some members do go for the meetings but have to go back home because the meetings cannot be held due to lack of quorum,” Rasheed said. “Because of the lack of attendance, the efforts to reintegrate the  inmates back into the society were severely delayed”.

She highlighted that a majority of the prison population were young people incarcerated for small drug offences and that the “long jail terms were destroying their lives”.

Therefore she explained that the Second Chance Program was set up by the deposed President Mohamed Nasheed in September 2011 to expedite the re-integration of former inmates incarcerated for drug offences back into the society.

According to the UNDP report, “Prison Assessment and Proposed Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Offenders Report“, published last year, 66 percent of all prisoners in the Maldives at the time of report were in jail for drug use or possession, often small quantities, while the majority were males under 30 years of age with education below O-levels.

“With the inception of the program a second opportunity was given to the young inmates by providing employment assistance, counselling for substance abuse, mentoring and other services to help to reduce recidivism,” Rasheed said.

“But with the shutting down of the program that opportunity is lost now. Those inmates and their parents had high hopes. But all hope is lost now,” said Rasheed, who was also a member at the parole board.

She further noted that several parents of inmates have called her up since she was dismissed from the position.

“We had finished training 50 inmates and they were ready to be released when this happened. Their parents are now calling up to ask me what will happen to them. I don’t have an answer to that,” she said.

She requested the government continue the second chance program, insisting that the program was “politics free”.

“There was absolutely no politics. Nobody instructed us on whom to release,” added Rasheed.

All 439 inmates released were thoroughly evaluated and approved by the courts while any former inmate found to have violated the terms of the release were sent back to the prison to complete their jail term.

During the chaotic events of February 7, Rasheed said a group of rogue security personnel involved in the mutiny against Nasheed’s government stormed into the Second Chance office inside the Ghazee Building and gassed the office.

“Four policemen and two MNDF officers into the office that morning and shouted at us to go upstairs. One of our project managers, who sits in a wheel chair, asked them how she could go upstairs when there was no lift. The policemen left but came back later and ordered us to leave again. They shouted that ‘this office is a big nuisance’ and sprayed some sort of gas and left,” Rasheed recalled.


24 thoughts on “Government shuts down ‘Second Chance’ program for inmate rehabilitation”

  1. Dear Mr. bodibaiy Jameel. Public safety was threatened the day you went into the police head quarters to support a mutinying police.

    It was again threatened on the 30th of February when you released 3 dangerous criminals into Male' in the hope of disrupting MDPs protest on the 1st of March. the only reason given to the public was that their parents requested. Is your method of releasing dangerous criminals better than the second chance programme.

    Where is your proof to this allegation that the Second Chance people are threat to public safety.

  2. This is only to be expected.
    We do not have a government now.
    We have a police state.

    This is not a state organised for the welfare of citizens.
    There can be no peace or stability in this country with the kinds of people in positions of power now.

    This country has sunk low indeed.
    It is painful to see this happening before our eyes.

  3. Dr. Waheed has recently said our vote is still valid - what he fails to recognize is that people voted an MDP Govt to implement the MDP manifesto and MDP policies. The first policy of the coup-led Govt was to abolish MNBC and change it to TVM and under MBC. The next thing was to abolish Maldives Volunteers Corps. Now, 2nd chance program is shut down. My vote is clearly not valid anymore, because what I voted for has been abolished before the end of a term. Dr. Waheed must hold early elections to put back the democratic process and legitimize the Government. He has no public mandate. Getting rid of utility companies and health corporations, and flagship programs of the MDP Govt does not legitimize his position in this. He is a coup-sponsored President who is only reinstating the old guards.

  4. Very good move government, Bravo. The previous governments second chance program was actually a fake. It was never meant to sincerely help the drug addicts, rather it was meant to let them loose so than they can become thugs for MDP. There were no check and balance on them. They weren't followed up and there was no prognosis check up. Hence violence in our country increased. They all need to be locked up again, rehabilitated well and then brought out once they serve the sentence and are fit enough to serve the community in a decent way.

  5. Why do we need a "rehabilitation programme"? All criminals, idol-worshippers and fornicaters should simply be rounded up and garrotted on the spot!

    They will sin no more. "Rehabilitated" if you will.

  6. Minivan, would have been good if you had managed to get a response from Lubna Zahir Hussain, regarding her opinion on Dhevana Furusath.

  7. I personally believe that it is not necessarily important to continue the second chance programme as it used to be.At the same breath , one must realize that neither is it necessarily important for the present Government to be engaged in so called "public services" as the former one used to be.


  9. Dear Shau, Funny isn't it?? You are raising your voice about validity of your vote?? Hay!! look there!! wait a minute!

    The validity of Gaasim and Hassans' supporters' votes which infallibly paved the way for Mr Nasheed to come to power seemed to have been thrown out of the window no sooner Nasheed set on the " thrown ". The resultant outcome of being too selfish seems to be dear to bear. Doesn't it?

  10. Why do you publish Yasir,s comments. He is clearly a thug in the current regime.

  11. This obsession with destroying our youth by dismantling the one programme of hope they had - doesn't it smack of the regime that tortured and killed Evan Naseem and killed so many others?
    Hello? Not only are the faces the same, so are the actions
    So now we have a thug government that came to power through thuggery calling the rest of us thugs. And moving quickly to undo all the work that was done - more in 3 than in their 30 years. For all they did then was hold onto power. Just as they are doing now. For that is all they know. Those of you who support them beware, unless you are happy to be fed the lies and the cash.In which case you may as help them out with their beating up, lies and propaganda
    Our world has truly turned upside down.
    What goes round comes round though, so there's some hope. Especially as most Maldivians seem to be of the thinking sort.

  12. Misleading article! Second Chance was only abolished to start a proper parole programme. In Nasheed Dictator's regime inmates had to declare their loyalty to MDP before they were given the second chance. These are the people who have been causing disturbances across Male' the last weeks. Not the public!

  13. What mandate has Jameel got to stop a perfectly good program to re-integrate these kids into society. He needs to establish the legitimacy of his position first. I visited the inmates exhibition held in Male' and was amazed by the talent! It is the responsibility of every citizen to try to make very Maldivian child a useful citizen!

  14. Don't forget that all parties who joined MDP on the second round joined on a MDP manifesto. By the second round all other than Maumoon and Nasheed had failed. So essentially the point on Gasim and Saeed getting some percentage of the vote is moot. Also both Gasim and Saeed resigned from the Government. They had no staying power and could not tolerate the fact that they were not President. Unfortunately for them Maldivian constitution is not like the Swiss where they rule through a Council.

  15. Most inmates released under this program were connected to some MDP family or another. They were relatives and friends. It released a lot of criminals who were sentenced to long jail terms due to the seriousness of the crimes they have committed. FYI, its not the jail terms that is ruining their lives. Its the path of crime they chose. I should know, most of my neighbours are avid MDP supporters, and they got their sons back. And these sons were jailed for gang related violent deaths, theft, mugging and even rape.

  16. Please give a second chance to Raees Nasheed. He needs rehabilitation and treatment for Antisocial personality disorder

    Antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal.

    A person with antisocial personality disorder may:

    Be able to act witty and charming

    Be good at flattery and manipulating other people’s emotions

    Break the law repeatedly

    Disregard the safety of self and others

    Have problems with substance abuse

    Lie, steal, and fight often

    Not show guilt or remorse

    Often be angry or arrogant

  17. Second chance program was not based on political affiliation.

  18. about time! it was a failed system. the country has been in chaos with crimes increasing dramatically due to this stupid program. i bet among the MDP protesters majority are those released and families affected by it.

  19. Second chance program is abolished, so there won't be a second chance for Anni as well. He can go to hell.

  20. People who disagree with MDP govt has something personal against anni. They can never give s logical argument. I wonder who is on drugs...certainly the language and arguments I hear against anni sound like language that would come from thugs, illiterate. The real baaghees.

  21. These guys are hard core criminals who is destroying our country. We dont need anymore second chances. Please keep the animals locked.

  22. I believe what Ms Aishath Rasheed. She is a well qualified, experienced and professional person.

  23. This is no surprise!
    Many released on parole will be taken in, and many convicted criminals will be pardoned!


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