Government Explores Establishment of Prison or Rehabilitation Center on Mantheevu Island in Batticaloa

February 25, 2024

The Sri Lankan government is contemplating the establishment of a prison or rehabilitation center on the remote Mantheevu Island situated off the coast of Batticaloa. This decision, outlined in a statement from the Ministry of Justice, Prisons, and Constitutional Reforms, aims to repurpose the island, currently housing leprosy patients, to serve a new societal need.

Mantheevu Island, spanning 100 acres in the Eastern Province, has predominantly functioned as a medical facility for leprosy patients. However, with the patient count drastically reduced to merely two individuals, and the island having served as a quarantine center during the Covid-19 pandemic, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha conducted an observational tour of the island to assess its potential for a different purpose.

During his visit, Minister Rajapaksha explored the feasibility of transforming Mantheevu into a correctional facility or a rehabilitation center. The initiative seeks to alleviate the strain on existing prisons and detention centers grappling with overcrowding issues. By repurposing the island, the government aims to provide a more effective and humane approach to incarceration and rehabilitation.