Release of inmates will be gradual and supervised, says Zuhair

The impending release of close to 400 convicts announced by President Mohamed Nasheed on Independence Day will be “a gradual and supervised process,” Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair has said.

Zuhair explained that a coordinated effort involving the Home Ministry, Health Ministry and the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) was currently ongoing.

“[The process] will be divided into phases. All 400 convicts won’t be released at once,” he said.

Zuhair added that the release would be the culmination of months of “an integrated effort” by the concerned authorities to categorise and interview inmates.

“The government has not decided to do this all of a sudden,” he said. “The screening process has been going on for months.”

The interviewing and evaluation process was still ongoing, he continued, and inmates were being categorised to determine whether they needed to enter a rehabilitation programme or other training programmes.

Inmates are to be granted jobs in government companies with a minimum Rf2,000 salary (US$130).

In some cases, said Zuhair, there were “legal complications” caused by some convicts serving multiple sentences.

Zuhair stressed that the inmates would have their “sentences suspended” for a period of three years, during which they would immediately be returned to jail if they were found to have committed any kind of offence.

He added that the released convicts would be subject to “monitoring and constant supervision by the government.”

The authorities are currently engaged in securing job placements and finalising the rehabilitation programmes, he said.

On fears of the released convicts contributing to a rise in crime during Ramadan, Zuhair argued that the government had a “proven track record” with its previous programmes.

Out of 119 inmates released in the past, said Zuhair, only two were arrested and returned to jail.

The vast majority of inmates in Maafushi jail and Himmafushi low-security prison were incarcerated for drug-related offences.

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Deputy Leader and Spokesperson Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef meanwhile stressed that “a balance” should be struck between the security of society and the need to rehabilitate offenders.

“We accept that rehabilitating convicts should be the main priority, but it should be done within a strong rehabilitation programme,” he said. “Law and order and the peacefulness of society must be maintained. If not, the whole country could turn into a jail.”

Shareef also cast doubt on the figures provided by the press secretary: “We don’t believe such numbers given by this government as they always mislead and lie to the public. The public doesn’t have confidence in what the government says anymore.”

He added that previous rehabilitation and parole programmes were not particularly successful in reintegrating inmates into society.

However, said Shareef, “we don’t believe that [convicts] should forever stay in jail either. They are also the children of our friends and families. We will not oppose releasing them through a strong and sound rehabilitation programme.”


11 thoughts on “Release of inmates will be gradual and supervised, says Zuhair”

  1. Hmmmm........there was no plan before...this is how they every action these people need to educated by public.

  2. it should be the home ministers job to explain to the general public about this policy and how its is to be executed, including full disclosure of the people being released and the nature of their crimes and other details. this is not zuhair's jobsupport the presidents decision. having said that, i do not think it is appropriate or responsible that the president should arbitrarily decide to release such a large number of people. where is due process? shouldnt it be approved by the parole board?

  3. Let us remember these convicts are also our own fellow citizens. The majority of these convicts are drug addicts. Who is to be blamed for their addiction?
    Try to understand that the government is trying to help these people. The problem with us is that we mix politics with religion and also with social problems. Hence I can only say that we are still of medieval way of thinking!

  4. No. Sh*t would still happen. I get told to not to do things all the time. I still do them.. Rapists know its wrong, They dont care, you can tell them till your blue in the face and after words theyll laugh and rape you..!! Believe it or not, in Maldives it's totally different story!! there are many innocent people sentenced and jailed, mostly framed by powerful corrupt police officers ..

  5. Zuhair - why don't you keep your bloody mouth shut and let the relevent people handle these cases. You are just a mouth piece of someone say what you are told to say nothing more nothing less. Get lost have become an insult and soon you'll be out ...

  6. nothing wrong with giving people second chances, no one is denying anyone citizenship, if u commit a crime as per the law, then u have to pay the consequences

  7. I am for giving these children a second chance. I hope they are placed in jobs in their native islands, if possible, close to their families. I would request the authorities not to release them in Male' without money and without a job as practiced previously.

  8. The drug offenders should be given a chance to rehabilitate and be a part of the community but my fear is will the program be effectively run. Monaza seem to know everything he does not take any advise from learned people cause he knows everything. People were happy when government appointed a retired MNDF official to be in charge of DPRS but Monaza is still running the place and the official is only looking after the Security of jails. What a waste of public money. Monaza has a way of getting to peoples heads that he knows everything and takes credit for the work done by other people. Such people bring discredit to the government.

  9. always problems when medical issues are seconded to the legal system........ j

  10. Govt is doing this to reduce the costs.Now, its about 41000/- per month per prisoner.
    Little do they care about the prisoner. Even less do they care about the public and the sufferings that these releases would follow.


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