– Prison History –
Prison Ordinance Act No. 16 of 1869, establishment of uniformed prison system under the control of Inspector General of Prisons.
Prison Discipline Commission II of 1869, system of giving guard conduct marks was introduced and remitting of the terms of their imprisonment.
The supervisions and control of all prisons in the Island were vested in Inspector General of Prisons.
From its inception the office of Inspector General of Prisons was held by the Inspector General of Police until 1905 when they separated.
Major de Wilton who till then held both offices was appointed Inspector General of Prisons and he was also appointed to be the Superintendent of the Prisons at Welikada, Mutwal and Hultsdorf.
Campbell Park. At the request of Mr.Campbell the Government a 20 acres of ground in the neighborhood of Welikada for a Public Recreation Club. Prisoners were employed in this work.
Introduction of a board system of classification by institutions, first offenders, juveniles females and re-convicted prisoners were located in separate institutions. Also short term and long term first offenders as well as star class prisoners and the better type of re-convicted men were further classified and housed in different sections of the larger prisons.
The term of imprisonment of the prisoners sentenced to Life, was commuted to a 20 year imprisonment for the first time on 22nd February.
Establishment of Magazine Remand Prison
Series of prison offences such as escapes, assault of prison officers made triable by District Judge and a Tribunal.
20 Former training officers were recruited and a 3 months training was given. 12 completed the training course.
Report of the Special Committee on Prison Administration Session Paper xviii. (Gratien Commission Report)
Organisation of the building branch of the Department.
Establishment to of C.C.Y.O at Negombo.
Break water and Slave Island – These prisons were closed by order of the Minister published in the Gazette No.10640 of 12th February.
Entire Fiscal Establishments were handed over to the Department of Prisons.
Transfer of all fiscal lock –ups in the country to the Prison Department.
Establishment of Open Camps at Anuradhapura, Batticaloa and Jaffna.
Introduction of the 9 hours working day for all prison staff and system of payment of overtime to all officers of and below the rank of Jailor.
Departmental officer deployed to assist in the rehabilitation of insurgents who were alleged to be marginally involved in the attempted insurrection.
Establishment of Weerawila Open Work Camp.
Library at the Centre Research and Training in Correction
Formation of National Association for Prevention of Crime and Delinquency.
Publication of the first issue of the ‘Prison Statistics of Sri Lanka’ complied by Mr.K.L.C.Athukorala,Ex. statistical officer, Prisons Headquarters.
Prison Reform Commission under the Chairmanship of V.N. Pillai – Session Paper VI of 1981.
Hulftsdrop Prison was closed on 26th August 1979.
In February,1982 the two (2) institutions which were opened as ” WORK CAMPS FOR YOUNG OFFENDERS” Pallansena and Taldena respectively were subsequently renamed as “CORRECTIONAL CENTERS FOR YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS”.
Welikada Prison Colombo figured prominently in this Ethnic disturbance, when on 25th and 27th July 1983,53 Tamil detainees were killed by other Prisoners in a Prison riot which broke out immediately after violence broke out in the Country. The inquest into the details was held by the Chief Magistrate Colombo assisted by Senior Attorneys from the Attorney General’s Department and the Verdict was homicide due to a prison riot.
Inauguration of UNESCO club in Welikada and Bogambara Prisons (First UNESCO club in Prisons in the Island).
A Sudden increase of those admitted to prison for drug offences from 580 in 1980 to 1777 in 1984.
Family Rehabilitation Center at Senapura was handed back to the Department of Social Services in April, 1985.
The Open Prison Camp at Kopay was attacked by Tamil Terrorists who destroyed the buildings with all valuable articles in May, 1985.
Establishment of Permanent Center” Legal Aid” for the benefit of remand prisoners at the Magazine Remand Prison in Collaboration with the Legal Aid Council.
(O.S.M Seneviratne Commission) Appointing of a Committee to consider changing the practice procedure and rules, related to prisons having regard to changed circumstances headed by Hon. Justice O.S.M.Seneviratne, Justice of the Supreme Court.
Establishment of a Transit Camp at Palawatta in the kalutara District for a certain category of persons arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Inauguration of Sewa Vanitha Unit of the Department of Prisons on 11th March 1987 by Mrs. C. Ranaraja the President of the Seva Vanitha Unit of the Ministry of Justice.
The Magazine Remand Prison which was confined to ordinary Remand Prisoners was set apart detainees who have been arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Emergency Regulations with effect from 7th May, 1987.
Navodawa a Rehabilitation Center inaugurated to reform inmates convicted on changes of dangerous drug addition.
Koggala Work Camp was closed down in 31st December,1991 to make way for a free Trade Zone.
A Project under which awarding of scholarships to the children of employees of the Department of Prisons was established.
Committee to examine the existing Legal Provisions and Administration practice, relating to the welfare of prisons – Headed by Walter Ladduwahetti.
Inauguration of the Boossa Prison.
Conversion of Lock-ups at Polonnaruwa and Monaragala into Remand Prisons.
Handing over the Ratnapura Lock-up to the Ratnapura Police.
The Department of Prison was transferred to the Ministry of Interior.
Female section of the Welikada Prison was detached and attached to the Magazine Remand Prison.
Introduction of a prison song for the Department of Prisons
Commencement of work on the project to relocate Bogambara Prison to Pallekele, this is the first planned prison in prison history
Organizing preliminary activities for the establishment of open prison camps at Hangilipola, Giribawa and Embilipitiya prisons.
Implementing programs in prisons to coincide with World AIDS Day and training a group of prisoners selected by the HIV / AIDS Prevention Project as Sanwara Leaders.
Commencement of the registration of convicted prisoners in Mahara Prison.
Commencement of the Women’s section at the Matara Prison.
Commencement of the Open Work Camp in Thunkama, Embilipitiya.
Lock-up in Kalutara, under the authority of Urban Council of Kalutara.
Establishment of a security and Intelligence Division.
Training school for Youthful offender’s in Pallansena was shifted to Ambepussa
Commencement of the Work Camp in Hangilipola.
The Kandy Remand Prison and the Bogambara Prison was named as Bogambara Prison on 05th of June as one Establishment at Dumbara – Pallekele.
The Prison ” Overseer” and ” Welfare Officer” ranks has been changed to “Sargent” and “Rehabilitation Officer” respectively.
The Tangalle Remand Prison was shifted to Angunakolapelessa Remand Prison on 03rd of November.