PRISONS ORDINANCE

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

ESTABLISHMENT AND OFFICERS OF PRISONS

2. Establishment of prisons. Prisons may be closed and new prisons established.

3. Temporary shelter of prisoners.

4. Minister or Commissioner-General may remove prisoners from one prison to another.

5. Warrants of commitment by Judges when good out of their jurisdiction.

6. Appointment of Commissioner-General and Commissioner of Prisons.

7. Prison officers.

8. Appointment and supervision of Medical Officers and apothecaries.

9. Past appointments valid.

10. Officers to be deemed always to be on duty and prisoners always under discipline.

11. Weapons and arms for prison officers.

11A. Power to make rules for the establishment and operation of a scheme for the grant of compensation in respect of the permanent total or partial disablement or death of prison officers in the discharge of their duties.

PART II

DUTIES OF OFFICERS

12. Officers to obey Superintendent.

13. Duty of prison officers to maintain discipline and order among prisoners.

14. Officers not to sell or let to prisoners.

15. Officers not to contract with prisoners.

SUPERINTENDENT

16. Duties of Superintendent.

17. Duties and powers of Assistant Superintendent and Probationary Superintendents.

MEDICAL OFFICER

18. Power to make rules as to Medical Officer's duties.

19. Medical officer to report cases requiring special attention.

20. Treatment of prisoners failing or refusing to take food.

21. Medical officer to make entries as to death, of prisoners.

22. Assistant Medical Officer.

23. Duties of Medical Officer.

JAILER

24. Residence of jailer.

25. Jailer to deliver lists of prisoners (if any) in punishment cells.

26. Jailer to give notice of death of prisoners.

27. Jailer to keep books and accounts.

28. Jailer responsible for safe custody of documents.

29. Jailer not to be absent without leave.

30. Assistant jailer.

31. Substitute for jailer in case of necessity.

MATRON

32. Residence and duties of matron.

SUBORDINATE OFFICERS

33. Powers of gate-keeper.

34. Subordinate officers not to be absent without leave.

PART III

VISITORS

35. Power to appoint, and remove from office, Board of Prison Visitors, Local Visiting Committees and additional Prison Visitors.

36. Duties of Board of Prison Visitors, Local Visiting Committees and Additional Prison Visitors.

37. Powers of Visitors.

38. Visitors book, log book, and complaint book.

39. Power of Judges and Magistrates and of Members of Parliament to visit prisons.

40. Penalty for resistance or obstruction to persons authorised to enter prisons.

41. Visitors to hear complaints and punish or report under section 81.

PART IV

ADMISSION, REMOVAL AND DISCHARGE OF PRISONERS

42. Prisoners to be searched on entrance and as often as necessary.

43. Medical examination of criminal prisoners.

44. Finger-printing of criminal prisoners.

45. Effects of criminal prisoners retained.

46. Medical examination before removal of prisoners.

47. Discharge of prisoners.

PART V

DISCIPLINE OF PRISONERS

48. Requisitions of Ordinance as to separation of prisoners.

49. Cells to be furnished with means of communication.

50. Prisoners under sentence of death.

51. Every prisoner under warrant for execution to be separately confined and guarded.

52. Sentence of hard labour to be enforced.

53. Female prisoners to be attended by females.

54. No gaming to be allowed.

55. No fee to be taken from a prisoner.

56. Rules as to classification of prisoners.

57. Religious instruction and education.

58. Remission of sentences and rewards for good conduct.

PART VI

FOOD, CLOTHING, AND BEDDING OF CIVIL PRISONERS

59. Civil prisoner may maintain himself.

60. Civil prisoner not to sell provisions.

61. Allowance of clothing and bedding.

62. Nature of food, clothing and bedding of prisoners.

PART VII

EMPLOYMENT OF PRISONERS

63. Work and earnings of civil prisoners.

64. Examination by Medical Officer of labouring prisoners.

65. Nature of labour or employment to be assigned to prisoners.

PART VIII

HEALTH OF PRISONERS

66. Names of sick prisoners to be reported to jailer. Jailer to report them to the Medical Officer.

67. Entry of recommendations by Medical Officer.

68. Infirmaries.

69. Removal of prisoners to of observation, or hospital.

70. Bathing of prisoners.

PART IX

VISITS TO AND CORRESPONDENCE OF PRISONERS

71. Visits from and communication with relations.

72. Powers of jailers as to admission of persons desiring to visit prisoners.

PART X

OFFENCES IN RELATION TO PRISONS

73. Carrying liquor, tobacco, or drugs into prison.

74. Offenders under section 73 may be arrested without warrant by prison officers.

75. Carrying letters to prisoners.

76. Notice of penalties to be affixed outside prison.

77. Use of weapons and force.

78. List of offences.

79. Superintendent's power to punish prison offenders.

80. Jailer to enter punishments in a book.

81. Constitution and powers of tribunal for punishment of prisoners.

82. Punishment for evasion of labour.

83. Additional penalties for prisoners guilty of escape or of assaulting prison officers.

84. No appeal from convictions under section 79 or section 81.

85. Ordinary criminal courts to retain jurisdiction.

86. Repealed.

87. Punishment of offences committed by prison officers.

PART XI

RESTRAINTS

88. Prohibition of mechanical restraint as punishment.

89. Means of restraint for purposes of extra-mural security.

90. Means of restraint for purposes of intra-mural discipline.

91. Duration of restraint.

92. Register of Restraints.

93. Means of restraint to be prescribed.

PART XII

MISCELLANEOUS

94. Power to make rules.

95. Certified copy of committal sufficient evidence of lawful custody.

96. Order for production of prisoners before any court.

97. No prisoner to be an assessor at an inquest.

98. Warrants may be addressed to Fiscal, who shall give prisoner into charge of jailer.

99. Jailer to deliver over to Fiscal civil and unconvinced criminal prisoners, when so required.

100. Allowance for maintenance of judgment-debtors to be paid over by Fiscal to jailer.

101. Warrants of commitment to be addressed to the Superintendent or jailer of the prison.

102. Table of rates of allowance for judgment-debtors to be affixed in prison.

103. Bar of action.

104. Interpretation.

SCHEDULE.

16 of 1877,

1 of 1883,

24 of 1890,

3 of 1894,

14 of 1907,

17 of 1916,

4 of 1923,

50 of 1935,

53 of 1939,

3 of 1940,

9 of 1941,

41 of 1944,

12 of 1945,

10 of 1948,

12 of 1952,

35 of 1952,

21 of 1958,

6 of 1980,

22 of 2005.

AN ORDINANCE to amend and consolidate the law relating to Prisons.

[Date of Commencement: 1st May, 1878]

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Prisons Ordinance.

PARTI

ESTABLISHMENT AND OFFICERS OF PRISONS

2. Establishment of prisons. Prisons may be closed and new prisons established.

The prisons situated at the places mentioned in the Schedule shall be or continue to be prisons for the reception of prisoners of every description committed or remanded under the authority of any court, having jurisdiction within any part of the districts or limits set opposite the name of such places respectively in the said Schedule:

Provided always that it shall be lawful for the Minister, by Order, at any time or from time to time to close any of the prisons mentioned in the Schedule, or to make any alteration in the districts or limits within which any such prisons are appointed, and also to establish any other prison or prisons for Sri Lanka or for any part thereof, and any such Order to revoke, alter, or amend; and every prison so established shall become subject to the provisions of this Ordinance in the same manner as if such prison had been mentioned in the Schedule.

3. Temporary shelter of prisoners.

Whenever it appears to the Minister that the number of prisoners in any prison is greater than can conveniently or safely be kept therein; or whenever from the outbreak of epidemic disease within any prison or for the performance of labour or for any other reason it is desirable to provide for the temporary shelter or safe custody of any prisoners without the walls of any prison, provision shall be made in such manner as the Minister may from time to time specially or by any general rules to be made in the manner provided in section 94 direct, for the temporary shelter or safe custody without the walls of the prison of so many of the prisoners as cannot be conveniently or safely kept therein. Prisoners for whom such shelter or custody is provided as aforesaid shall be subject to the provisions of this Ordinance and to any rules to be made under section 94 in the same manner in every respect as if they were within a prison.

4. Minister or Commissioner-General may remove prisoners from one prison to another.

It shall be lawful for the Minister or the Commissioner-General, by writing under his hand, to direct the removal of any prisoner from one prison to another; and such writing shall be sufficient warrant for the Superintendent or the jailer of the prison, to which such prisoner shall be so directed to be removed, to receive and detain such prisoner and deal with him according to law.

5. Warrants of commitment by Judges, when good out of their jurisdiction.

The warrant or sentence by any Judge, Magistrate, committing any person for any offence cognizable by such Judge or Magistrate to any prison wherein such person may be lawfully detained, shall be good and sufficient, whether such prison shall or shall not be within the jurisdiction of such Judge or Magistrate.

6. Appointment of Commissioner-General and Commissioner of Prisons.

(1) There may be appointed—

(a) a person, by name or by office, to be or to act as Commissioner-General of Prisons.

(b) a person, by name or by office, to be or to act as Commissioner of Prisons.

Direction and control of prisons.

(2) The general direction and administrative control of all prisons in Sri Lanka shall, subject to the orders of the Minister, be vested in the person for the time being holding the office of Commissioner-General of Prisons.

(3) Any power, duty or function vested in, or imposed or conferred upon, the Commissioner-General, by this Ordinance or by any other written law may, subject to such general or special directions as may be issued in that behalf by the Commissioner-General with the approval of the Minister, be exercised, performed or discharged by the person for the time being holding the office of Commissioner of Prisons.

7. Prison officers.

(1) The staff of every prison shall consist of a Superintendent, a Medical Officer, a jailer and such number of subordinate officers as the Minister may in each case determine.

(2) In any case where the Minister deems it necessary the staff of a prison may also include one or more of any of the following classes of officers, namely, Assistant Superintendents, Probationary Superintendents, Assistant Medical Officers, Deputy Jailers, and apothecaries.

(3) In every prison in which female prisoners are detained there shall be at least one female officer.

(4) In every prison there shall be at least one officer competent to interpret the Sinhala language and one officer competent to interpret the Tamil language.

8. Appointment and supervision of Medical Officers and apothecaries.

(1) The Medical Officer, assistant Medical Officer or apothecary required for any prison shall be posted to such prison by the Director-General of Health Services with the concurrence of the Commissioner-General.

(2) The Medical Officer, assistant Medical Officer or apothecary of a prison shall, for the purposes of section 81, be deemed to be a prison officer; but shall in all other respects be under the supervision and control of the Director-General of Health Services.

9. Past appointments valid.

All appointments of any such officers as aforesaid heretofore made shall be deemed to have been made under the provisions of this Ordinance.

10. Officers to be deemed always to be on duty and prisoners always under discipline.

(1) Every prison officer shall, for the purposes of this Ordinance, be deemed to be always on duty.

(2) Every prisoner while being taken to or from any prison or while working outside prison walls or remaining for any other authorised purpose under the custody and control of any prison officer beyond the limits of any prison, shall be deemed to be in prison and to be subject to the discipline prescribed by this Ordinance and the rules made thereunder.

11. Weapons and arms for prison officers.

All prison officers shall be provided with such weapons including batons, staves, arms, ammunition and accoutrements as may be prescribed by rules made under section 94.

11A. Power to make rules for the establishment and operation of a scheme for the grant of compensation in respect of the permanent total or partial disablement or death of prison officers in the discharge of their duties.

(1) The Minister may, with the concurrence of the Minister in charge of the subject of Finance, make rules providing for the establishment and operation of a scheme for the grant of compensation to any prison officer who is permanently totally or partially disabled, or to the legal heir or heirs of any prison officer who is dead, in any case where such disablement or death, as the case may be, is due to any injury—

(a) received by such officer while on duty, or

(b) received by such officer while not on duty in the performance of some act which is within the scope of his ordinary duties, or

(c) received by such officer in consequence of any act performed in the execution of his duties, or

(d) received by such officer as a result of any act of reprisal occasioned by or arising out of any action taken by him in the execution of his duties.

Such rules may provide for the principles, exceptions, restrictions and conditions according, and subject, to which such compensation will be granted and for all other matters necessary or expedient for the establishment and operation of such scheme.

(2) Any compensation granted in accordance with rules made under the preceding provisions of this section shall be a charge on the Consolidated Fund.

(3) Where in any case a dispute arises as to whether or not compensation is payable or as to the amount of compensation payable under any rules made under the preceding provisions of this section, such dispute shall be determined by the Secretary to the Ministry charge with the subject of Justice.

(4) Any compensation granted in accordance with rules made under the preceding provisions of this section in respect of the disablement or death of a prison officer shall be in addition to any pension, gratuity, compensation, allowance, or other benefit, granted in respect of such disablement or death under the Minutes of Pensions.

(5) For the purposes of this section "prison officer” means the Commissioner-General of Prisons, Commissioner of Prisons, officers of the prison staff and includes any other person employed in the Department of Prisons.

[S 11A ins by s 2 of Act 6 of 1980.]

PART II

DUTIES OF OFFICERS

12. Officers to obey Superintendent.

(1) All prison officers shall obey the directions of the Superintendent.

(2) The matron and all subordinate officers shall perform such duties as may be directed by the jailer with the sanction of the Superintendent; and the duties of the matron and of each subordinate officer shall be inserted in a book to be kept by her or him.

13. Duty of prison officers to maintain discipline and order among prisoners.

It shall be the duty of every prison officer to preserve order and discipline among the prisoners in accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance and the rules made under section 94 and of any other written law applicable to prisons; and for such purpose it shall be lawful for a prison officer to use all such means, including such degree of force, as may reasonably be necessary to compel obedience to any lawful directions given by him.

114. Officers not to sell or let to prisoners.

No prison officer shall sell or let, nor shall any person in trust for or employed by him sell or let, or derive any benefit from selling or letting, any article to any prisoner.

15. Officers not to contract with prisoners.

No prison officer shall, nor shall any person in trust for or employed by him, have any interest direct or indirect in any contract for the supply of the prison; nor except so far as is expressly allowed by rules made under section 94, shall he derive any benefit directly or indirectly from the sale of any article on behalf of the prison or belonging to a prisoner.

SUPERINTENDENT

16. Duties of Superintendent.

Subject to the directions of the Commissioner - General, the Superintendent shall—

(a) manage the prison in all matters relating to discipline, labour, expenditure, punishment, and control;

(b) correspond on all matters connected with the prison with the Commissioner-General;

(c) submit to the Commissioner-General all prison accounts with proper vouchers for audit;

(d) periodically inspect all property of the Government in his charge and report thereon to the Commissioner-General;

(e) generally obey all rules made under section 94 for the guidance of the Superintendent.

17. Duties and powers of Assistant Superintendent and Probationary Superintendents.

Any of the duties or functions, imposed in the Superintendent by the provisions of this Ordinance and the rules made under section 94 or of any other written law, may be performed or exercised by an Assistant Superintendent or a Probationary Superintendent, under the general or special directions of the Superintendent, or in the absence of the Superintendent; and for the purposes of the performance or exercise of such duties or functions, an Assistant Superintendent or Probationary Superintendent shall be deemed to have all the powers, privileges, protections and immunities conferred by any of the aforesaid provisions of law upon the Superintendent.

MEDICAL OFFICER

18. Power to make rules as to Medical Officer's duties.

(1) It shall be lawful for the Minister after consulting the Minister charged with the subject and function of Health to make rules as to each of the following matters—

(a) how often the Medical Officer shall visit the prison and see each prisoner;

(b) the records to be made respecting sick prisoners;

(c) periodical inspection of every part of the prison;

(d) reports on its cleanliness, drainage, warmth, and ventilation;

(e) reports on the provisions, water, clothing, and bedding supplied to the prisoners.

(2) The Medical Officer shall obey all rules made under subsection (1).

19. Medical officer to report cases requiring special attention.

Whenever the Medical Officer has reason to believe that the health of a prisoner is or is likely to be injuriously affected by the discipline, diet, or treatment to which he is subjected, the Medical Officer shall report the case in writing to the Superintendent, together with such recommendations as the Medical Officer thinks proper.

20. Treatment of prisoners failing or refusing to take food.

(1) It shall be the duty of the Medical Officer to keep under close observation every prisoner whose health is or is likely to be injuriously affected by any inability or failure to take food or sufficient food, and to subject every such prisoner to any medical treatment that may be necessary at the earliest possible stage after his condition is discovered.

(2) The Medical Officer may, whenever he considers it to be necessary or advisable, adopt any device or means which may appear to him to be suitable—

(a) for the compulsory feeding of any prisoner who, in the opinion of the Medical Officer, feigns inability to take food or willfully refuses food with intent to procure a discharge from prison or any exemption from labour or for any other reason; or

(b) for the artificial feeding of any prisoner who has become unconscious or otherwise unable to feed himself.

(3) The Medical Officer shall personally carry out the compulsory or artificial feeding required in any case referred to in subsection (2), and shall, in every such case, take all due precautions to ensure that no greater force is used than may be reasonably necessary for the purposes of such feeding.

(4) The Medical Officer shall report to the Superintendent for the information of the Commissioner-General, and to the Director-General of Health Services, full particulars of every case of compulsory or artificial feeding carried out by him.

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