Open prisons and electronic tagging part of plans to overhaul jail

Inmates at Maafushi Island Prison are to be categorised into four groups according to security risk, with the least dangerous criminals to be tagged and released on work and study programmes.

“This is a huge change to the prison system,” Naseer told Haveeru adding that the reforms will reduce state expenditure on the rehabilitation system.

Older inmates or inmates nearing the end of the sentence will be housed in an open jail on a separate island, Home Minister Umar Naseer told local news agency Haveeru today.

Inmates in category two will be allowed to work on the industrial Thilafushi Island, and the most dangerous criminals or category one criminals will continue to serve their sentences behind bars in Maafushi prison.

“This will be advantageous to the state budget. Secondly, it will allow criminals to undergo rehabilitation and integrate back into society. With this, when inmates are released from jail, they will have undergone one of the programs,” the Home Minister told Haveeru.

The inmates who are to be released on the work and study programme will have an electronic tag fixed to their legs. In addition to undergoing a security screening, they will also have to be nearing the end of their sentence.

“They will have to do one or the other [work or study]. If they are working, we have to know where they are going. We also have to know the exact route they are taking. Through the tag, we can track which streets they are walking on,” he said.

The home minister said the tags have been tested during his trip to Singapore earlier this week. An expert team is to visit the Maldives to demonstrate how the tags work to government offices, he said.

The open jail is to be established on an uninhabited island. The government will provide modest shelter, run a mosque, and establish an administrative office and a security post. The inmates will cook for themselves and be self- sufficient, but will not be allowed to leave the island, Naseer said.

“These are people who pose no harm to society. And elderly inmates who are weak,” he said.

Plans are underway to designate an island for the open jail. The Home Ministry is currently working on a policy paper on the matter to be submitted to the social council at the President’s Office.

Category two criminals will be provided employment with the Road Development Corporation and will be put to work and housed on Thilafushi.

The Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) and the corporation have already signed an agreement to transfer jobs from expatriate workers to inmates.

“The Road Development Corporation’s labour quarters will be changed into prison labour quarters. That means there will be a fence around the quarters,” he said.

Inmates will be released during the day for work and brought back to the labor quarters at night. The renovation is expected to cost MVR6 million (US$ 389,105) and will be funded through the state budget.

Approximately 50 inmates are already employed on Thilafushi, he said.

The reforms will reduce the prison population from 1000 inmates to 300 or 400 inmates, the home minister said.

Naseer has overseen a series of radical changes including a decision to implement the death penalty.

New regulations formulated in April have ended a sixty-year moratorium on the practice. The Maldives Correctional Services is now preparing facilities to implement the death sentence through legal injection.


8 thoughts on “Open prisons and electronic tagging part of plans to overhaul jail”

  1. The four categories are: Murderers and drug dealers in high security prison, rapists and pedophiles in lower security prison, thieves and drug addicts in rehabilitation programs, and traitors to our nation in top-level government posts.

  2. @Rihakuru and Joospetty

    This whole country is a prison. 😛

  3. You better put one on Q now. He is now in the making of the biggest country-destabilising scheme in he history.

    A scheme that ultimately would overthrow the current government.

    Start records and tracking him, his calls, to build the story. If not for your safety, then atleast as a lesson for the coming generations, as a perfect political storm in the making, from beginning to end.

  4. Police can continue to pluck as many young people as possible to ensure there is a free flow of slaves to do the dirtiest of the dirty jobs...
    Thilafushi is health hazard. A killer environment.
    No one will be able to live a healthy life after being there for even a month.
    That is if that person choose not to commit suicide.

  5. President Yameen portrays as a strong leader with good economic background. I doubt his economic clout but I always thought he is a strong leader. Unfortunately, even strong leadership quality is also now in doubt as he was only able to fire the most timid JP Minister. Umar is confidently going about his business laying out five years plan coming to news; more than Yameen; praising his achievements and even discussing his work schedules. I now think that Umar is a stronger figure in the government, with all the lambasting that he has done to Yameen in the past, president is timid to do anything to him. Umar has carved his own space in the government and it looks like he is untouchable. Good on you, Umar, for good or for bad, you have proved your leadership skills.

  6. Types like "oli" here are indications why this country isn't going forward. Apparently leadership skills for these people equal the characteristics of dictators. Umar Naseer is not at all the leader the Maldives needs, it would be nice to finally have a balanced competent leader. Aggression and ego centrism are not good leadership qualities.

    In this case the goal to divide the prisoners in groups is good, but the success of failure of this proposal stands with realisation and details. Most prisoners will return into society at one point, the goal must be they can become a healthy part of society. Will it be achieved through this plan? Will the condition for the prisoners improve?

    - Open prison: on condition these people are still taken care of (basic needs: food, housing, water, some kind of job like farmer, ...) and not left to rot on an island, it's a good idea.

    - Labour group: should get rewards for doing good work (entertainment, improved living conditions, study chances, more chances to meet with family, ...) and they should get basic salary.

    - High risk group: first of all I hihgly doubt all prisoners in this group will actually be high risk. Considering the level of corruption I'm sure enemies of people in power will end up here much quicker. And even this group should not be kept as animals in a cage, less prisoners in each cell can be achieved through this plan, but proper sanitation, healthy food, basic recreation, ...


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