The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka announced that an agree-ment was signed between the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Prisons, and ICTA to digitalize facilities for prison inmates, at a ceremony held recently.
This initiative was introduced due to the safety and mental health concerns posed on the prison inmates by the Covid- 19 pandemic. In addition, the initiative seeks to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus due to overcrowding, risk of spreading the virus when transporting inmates to courthouses, and the risks of distributing and receiving the virus of inmates’ family members.
Under this project, ‘Virtual Court Producing’ and ‘Virtual Court Visitations’ will be introduced. ‘Virtual Court Producing’ allows inmates to be produced before the judge through an online video conferencing system via the online platform. In addition, ‘Virtual visits’ will be introduced considering the importance and fundamental right of offenders maintaining contact with their family, friends, and access to lawyers. This mechanism will relieve the current suspension of physical visits by family members.
ICTA will provide the technical assistance to implement the new system in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Prisons. The pilot phase will be implemented in 4 Western Province prisons and 10 court houses.
The agreement was signed in the presence of the Secretary to the Ministry of Justice K. Mayadunna, Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency, Oshada Senanayake, Chief Digital Officer ICTA Kanchana Thudugala, Director Line of Business, ICTA Amila Kularatne, and the Commis-sioner-General of Prisons H.M.T.N Upuldeniya.