The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced a deal with Maldivian construction company Aima to build a prison in Kaashidhoo, in Kaafu Atoll.
The open prison, designed to house 700 inmates, will cost MVR143 million (US$9.2 million) and should be completed within 18 months, Sun Online has reported.
“This project in Kaashidhoo is based on ‘open jail’ concept. We will use 90 percent of the land area for agriculture. Most prisoners will be engaged in this work, and their work will also benefit their families,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Mohamed Fayaz told the media today.
During a ceremony at the Home Affairs Ministry today, Fayaz is reported to have said that prisoners incarcerated in Kaashidhoo should be able to earn enough whilst in prison to prevent re-offending upon their release.
He added that the construction would add much-needed capacity to the Maldives prison network, noting that currently not all sentences can be carried out due to lack of space. Fayaz also took aim at the previous government, arguing that the last administration had released many convicts too early.
The Minister of State for Home Affairs and former Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohamed Fayaz has been granted permission by the Elections Commission (EC) to form a new political party, reports local media.
Assuming the newly formed National Industrial Alliance (NIA) can find 3000 members, it will become the 17th political party in the Maldives.
The NIA’s platform will focus on achieving economic freedom through investments and job opportunities for citizens as well as “bringing about a ‘revolution’ to Maldivian businesses and medium-sized companies” via government assistance and “other sources,” according to Sun Online.
Fayaz stated the NIA will cooperate with the government regardless of which party is in power.
State Minister for Home Affairs Mohamed Fayaz has outlined some of the issues concerning the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) at a ceremony marking its 41st anniversary, reports Sun Online.
Fayaz said that the department was failing to execute court rulings, with less than 25 percent of 2000 people sentenced to prison behind bars when the current government took office in February.
He argued that punishments such as exile and house arrest were obsolete as island councils were refusing to accept convicts and the department did not have the resources to monitor those subsequently placed under house arrest.
“Councils do not accept exiles. We have no choice but to put them under house arrest. They go out into society, and commit more crimes. The commissioner complained to me, when the same person had to be brought in five times within one week. What can we do?” Sun reported Fayaz as saying.
Fayaz also raised the issue of prison capacity, saying that the maximum number of inmates the system can hold is 1100, whilst the current need is 2000.
“Criminals will not hesitate to commit crimes, if they know they will not be subjected to the due punishment,” he said.