Department of prison’s R8.8 million lighter budget approved | 28 November 2019
The department of prison’s 2020 budget, amounting to R84,990,000, was yesterday approved by the National Assembly.
Superintendent of Prison Raymond St Ange was present before the assembly yesterday afternoon, along with other officials from the prison service to provide more details on the budget allocation.
A R8.8 million reduction in the allocated budget was highlighted and attributed to the removal of R7.8 million as part of the service agreement between the Seychelles Prison Service and the Islands Development Company (IDC)allowing inmates on the rehabilitation programme to contribute to development on the outer islands. Named ‘Project Phoenix’, the programme will allow up to 100 inmates from the Montagne Posée prison to be assigned on outer islands. The R7.8 million was allocated toward the Montagne Posée prison master plan and used to upgrade the existing facilities of the prison.
A further R1 million reduction in the budget allocated towards rehabilitation and reintegration programme was pointed out, although Mr St Ange noted that rehabilitation is still an important component for inmates, and noting that enormous work is being done in collaboration with other entities to rehabilitate offenders. He added that they are looking into mentorship programmes as well.
Other concerns addressed include remuneration for inmates who are involved with work programmes. According to Mr St Ange, there are around 20 inmates working with the Ile du Port Handling Services (IPHS), 10 to 15 at the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC), 7 to 10 at the Seychelles Trading Company (STC) while others are attached to Land Marine. The assembly requested the financial documents detailing the revenue generated by the inmates on a monthly basis.
The assembly also queried about the methadone programme and its effectiveness, the matter of security in the prison and contraband including mobile phones, drugs and others, which have in the past been found in possession of inmates. The majority of members also questioned the panel as to the privileges that prisoners are afforded and internal procedures.
Considering the fact that the prison houses 337 inmates and an additional 64 on remand, Sebastien Pillay questioned what the authorities are doing to reduce the average cost per prisoner annually as well as to reduce utilities expenses (R2.2 million is allocated to electricity) to which Mr St Ange stated some initiatives such as greening the prison among others. According to Honourable Pillay’s calculations, it costs R169,900 for one prisoner per year based on the premise that there are 500 inmates.
Minister Mondon concluded the session by highlighting the efforts and achievements in the services offered by the institution and committed to continuously strive to improve these services.
The assembly will resume this morning with a statement on HIV, followed by budget debates starting with the departments of youth and sports, community development and the Mayor’s Office.