The Irrawaddy

5 Inmates Receive Pardons for Release After Acing Matriculation Exam

MANDALAY — The prison department released five inmates who passed the matriculation exam with flying colors and reduced the prison terms of 28 others on Saturday, after they were granted presidential pardons.

Two inmates from Yangon’s Insein prison and three inmates from Mandalay’s Obo prison who passed the exam with three distinctions were released on Saturday and will be able to attend university with the help of the Ministry of Education and the department of social welfare, which is under the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

U Min Tun Soe, the deputy director of the prison department in Naypyitaw, said the department of social welfare would help the students receive further education and stay out of trouble in the future.

Ko Nay Myo Aung and Ko Nyan Lin Aung from Insein prison, and Ma Lu Pan, Ko Zin Min Tun and Ko Tun Ko Ko from Obo prison, were released on Saturday.

“It is compulsory to contact the department social welfare. If the released students do not want to go to university, the department will give them professional training to help them find employment,” the deputy director said.

Eight other students from both Insein and Obo prisons who passed the matriculation exam with 2 distinctions received pardons reducing their remaining prison terms by half.

Another 20 inmates who passed the exam with one distinction or no distinctions received pardons reducing their remaining prisons terms by one quarter.

The prison department said the inmates remaining in prison would still have an opportunity to receive a university education while serving their time through the Ministry of Education’s distance learning program.

“There will be classes and exam centers inside the prison so inmates can continue their studies. If they are released before graduating, they can continue these studies at university,” the deputy director said.

U Min Tun Soe added that the pardons were not solely based on distinctions but on crimes committed and time served as well.

In the 2017-18 academic year, 19 inmates out of 34 who took the matriculation exam passed it, along with 27 out of 55 inmates from Obo prison – 21 of them with honors.

According to the prison department, 13 inmates who passed the exam were already being released in June and July after their prison terms were fully served.