Manama: Kuwait is taking steps to address overcrowding in its prisons and reduce significantly the number of inmates.

“We will try to cut down the number of prisoners, replace rulings, cancel some others, and release some of the inmates,” Mahmoud Al Dossari, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior, said after meeting lawmakers on the Human Rights Committee to discuss security restrictions and conditions inside the Central Prison, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

The official said the parliamentary committee was the entity concerned with the formulation of conditions and rules to decrease number of prisoners, but needed to cooperate with the ministry of justice and the public prosecution to gradually reduce the number of prisoners.

Al Dossari spoke to lawmakers about “the necessity of introducing new legislation that allowed the exchange of prisoners with other countries so that foreign inmates could spend the remaining of their jail sentence in their countries”.

He added ministry officials discussed with the parliamentary committee issues related to security restrictions and the situation in the central prison.

The ministry has already started removing some security restrictions on citizens and people living illegally in Kuwait, he said.

A special committee tasked with solving overcrowding in Kuwaiti prisons will be formed by the ministry and the Public Prosecutor, he added.

On Thursday, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported that an inspection by a committee set up by the interior minister discovered that around 4,000 inmates from several nationalities were being held in the Central Prison built to accommodate 1,200.

The committee, made up of senior officials from security agencies and the head of the Central Prison, in a bid to ease the ominous overcrowding decided to send home 200 Indian and Egyptian inmates whose verdicts are final and cannot be challenged to finish the prison terms in their countries.

It also decided to release 700 Kuwaitis convicted on drugs charges, under stringent conditions.