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A determined approach as Marie Louise Special Prison evolves
Office of the President

The Marie Louise Special Prison, which is under the responsibility of Superintendent Ronald Ernesta, was established earlier this year in February 2012. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport has plans to accommodate 130 drug traffickers and those documented to be ‘hardcore’ or dangerous criminals there.


This special prison, perhaps due to its isolated location on the island of Marie Louise, has as its primary function, the incarceration of serious drug offenders and as a result is considered a higher security installation, operated and managed to strict procedures and conforming to national laws and international guidelines. 


It is in this context and recognizing the added responsibilities of managing and caring for prisoners in this category, who have been involved with illegal drugs in one form or another and which has so affected Seychellois families and society in general, that the special prison will as well address a programme that focuses on the needs of those who have victimized their local communities in the past, as it firmly establishes itself to safely housing these prisoners.


“Their conviction for serious drug offences and their sentencing to the Special Prison at Marie Louise is not the ‘end all’ for them,” said an official with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport.  “Sentences will be served and using the time to their benefit, those same prisoners will be given the opportunity to participate in their rehabilitation so that they too upon their release can contribute back to society what they in their prior illicit trade attempted to take without exception.”


Current practices, which have been well established at other Seychelles’ prison facilities, such as farming, are also being well appreciated by the prisoners at the Marie Louise Special Prison.  There are plans to also introduce woodworking and carpentry in the future.  “We note and acknowledge that those activities themselves are but a small part of what will be a much broader approach being envisaged and of course, borrowing from the best practices of our more established facilities,” the Ministry stressed.


The Ministry has remarked that on a recent visit organized for the prisoners from Marie Louise and their family members on Mahe, it was apparent that the prisoners’ time on the island is proving to be a positive experience for them and some of them have testified to be rediscovering the positive aspects of themselves and had expressed the wish to ‘do their time’ and get back into society to contribute in more constructive ways.


The family members of the prisoners had also expressed their satisfaction of seeing their relatives physically and emotionally faring well, with generally new and more optimistic attitude and reasoning.


“Prisons are after all also meant to help the individuals become better citizens for when they are released. Otherwise, we will continue to see the high number of repeat offenders that currently come back to prison and we will not solve the problem of offending behaviour in our country” said the Minister responsible for Prisons, Minister Joel Morgan.



This is to be expected as well for the Marie Louise Special Prison.  However as programmes of works are developed at other facilities within the Seychelles Prison Service and with the arrival early next year of a youth offender incarceration facility, the prison on Marie Louise will continue to evolve and be part of an over-all system that effectively manages those under its care, adopting internationally recognised best practices to better serve the general public as well.


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