Department of Prisons

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The Department of Prisons is a Non-Ministerial Government Department in Sri Lanka responsible for the incarceration and rehabilitation of convicted criminal offenders and terror suspects in Sri Lanka, it comes under purview of the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms. The Commissioner General of Prisons reports to the Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms, who is in turn responsible to the Parliament of Sri Lanka for all the departments under his portfolio.

The current 14th Commissioner General of Prisons is Mr. Chandrarathne Pallegama (BSc, PGD, MAAT, MA), a skilled and well known administrator in Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS).

Mission statement[edit]

"Rehabilitation of prisoners and youthful offenders committed to prisons and training schools under the authority of any court in the island and research and training in the field of correction, custody, care and production of remand prisoners before the courts"


The new prisons system that evolved in Britain was introduced to the British colonies during 1844. The Department of Prisons came into existence first affiliated to the Police Dept. under the then Inspector General of Police Sir George William Robert Campbell under the Act no.18 of 1844. The supervision and control of all prisons in the Island were vested in Inspector General of Prisons. From its inceptions the office of Inspector General of Prisons was held by the Inspector General of Police until 1905 when they separated. Major Albert 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. In 1922 the penal colony of the Andaman Islands were closed down and 62 life convicts sent back to Ceylon. In 1944 a probation system was introduced as a branch of the Prison Department.


The Department of Prisons is tasked with ensuring that custodial sentences (imprisonment) and non-custodial sentences and orders (home detention, supervision, community work and release on conditions) imposed by Sri Lankan Courts are administered in a safe, secure, humane and effective way. The Department aims to contribute to the maintenance of a safe and just society by reducing the level of re-offending through the delivery of targeted and appropriate programmes to help offender’s rehabilitation and reintegration to society. The Department is also responsible for the transportation of prisoners within the country with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Police.


  • Prison Headquarters, Colombo
  • The Centre for Research and Training in Corrections
  • Maximum security prisons - 03
  • Remand Prisons - 17
  • Work Camps – 06
  • Open Prison Camps – 02
  • Correctional Centers for Youthful Offenders –02
  • Training School for Youthful Offenders – 01
  • Work Release Center – 01
  • Lock–ups –28 (Prison buildings sited near courts to which prisoners with pending cases are transferred.)



  • Commissioner General of Prisons
  • Commissioner of Prisons
  • Deputy Commissioner of Prisons (SLAS officer)
  • Commissioner (Welfare)
  • Superintendent (Special Grade)
  • Superintendent
  • Assistant Superintendent


  • Chief Jailor, Chief Welfare Officer
  • Jailor Class 1, Class 1 Welfare Officer
  • Jailor Class 2, Class 2 Welfare Officer

Guards & other staff[edit]

  • Overseer
  • Guard
  • Watcher
  • Labour

See also[edit]


External links[edit]