|Hindu Temple foundation at Mauritius Prison|
Mauritius February 06, 2014: The consecration ceremony of a hindu temple at the newly-built Melrose prison was held on 3 and 4 February 2014. The ceremony was performed by Acharya Mohun Parsad Saklani, Head priest of Mauritius Sanathan Dharma Temples Federations, in the presence of representatives of religious bodies from neighboring villages, members of non-governmental organisations, prison staff and other people involved in the project.
Four places of worship have been set up for detainees at the new high security prison, in respect of the main religions practised in Mauritius, namely a hindu temple, a mosque, a church and a tamil temple.
According to the Commissioner of Prisons, Mr Jean Bruneau, detainees in prison enjoy the right to exercise the freedom of worship and practise their religious faith and have access to qualified representatives of their respective religion. Referring to spirituality, the Commissioner said that spiritual welfare supports a detainee of any religious belief to reflect on misdeeds committed and to turn over a new leaf. “It also amends destructive behaviour and assists him to reconcile with himself, others and with God”, he said.
In prison, vocational training and education address the body and mind of detainees whereas spiritual welfare and pastoral counseling touch the heart of the individual and help to bring about a positive change in him. It brings social redirection and helps the detainee to rediscover hope, self-dignity, love and compassion for others. The truth of religion and belief in God transform the heart of the prisoner, his character and personality conducive towards rehabilitation.
The new prison is constructed on a surface area of 42 acres and comprises several units for different categories of detainees. A total of 13 accommodation units, a geriatric bloc and a high security bloc with an accommodation capacity for 60 detainees have already been constructed. It also has two wings consisting of four workshops each and which can accommodate 400 detainees.
Provision has also been made for an isolation ward equipped with a dormitory for 50 detainees, a 20-bed medical unit and a transit bloc. The prison is also equipped with a central kitchen and a bakery. In a bid to cater for the rehabilitation of detainees, each accommodation bloc will have recreation facilities such as a gymnasium, a reading corner and a refectory.
As regards the security aspect of the new prison, around 550 CCTV cameras have been installed within the compound and in each accommodation bloc. Furthermore, each bloc will be equipped with a control unit for the CCTV.
The contract for the construction of the Melrose prison was awarded to J.V Beijing Zhuzong/Hyvec Partners and works started in September 2010.
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