MALAYSIA is expected to reduce prison occupancy rate by two-thirds in the next eight years and rely more on community corrections.
According to Prisons Department commissioner-general Datuk Nordin Muhammad, greater focus on community corrections was aimed at reducing the prison population and improve rehabilitation of those who were convicted of non-serious offences.
“In the future, by 2030, two-thirds of convicted prisoners should undergo community corrections. Correctional facilities are meant for those involved in serious crimes,” Nordin was reported as saying by Bernama in an interview.
He also explained that the recidivism rate among former inmates who did not have rehabilitation opportunities outside the prison was at 15% compared with just 0.38% for those who underwent community corrections.
“Our future focus is more on community corrections so that we can reduce recidivism,” he told the national news agency.
In order to protect the communities better, the idea should be to transform from a retributive to restorative justice, he added.
The Prisons Department’s rehabilitation and resettlement initiatives include job attachment schemes in which companies offer employment and accommodation to eligible inmates under the supervision of prison officials.
Nordin noted that at present there are about 5,000 prisoners enrolled in job schemes with various companies.
“We can reach 10,000 inmates by 2023. The Government will be able to cut its monthly expenditure by RM500 per inmate,” he estimated.
On the issue of healthcare facilities for inmates, Nordin clarified that basic services are almost similar to those that are available outside prison.
However, he acknowledged that his department has been looking into methods to improve access to specialist medical care for prisoners. – Oct 26, 2022