The prisons in the country are overcrowded and the Prisons Department intends to send two-thirds of eligible inmates to receive rehabilitation in the community by 2030, says its director-general, Nordin Muhamad.
According to Bernama, the community rehabilitation programme includes the parole system, Compulsory Attendance Order (CAO), Resident Reintegration Program, licensed prisoner release, and various other efforts established since 2008.
Citing the statistics, Nordin said there are currently 82,539 prisoners, of which 76,336 are imprisoned and the remaining 6,203 are part of the community rehabilitation programme.
“Currently, prisons nationwide can only house about 66,000 inmates so there is overcrowding of about 10,000 inmates.”
“This initiative is expected to reduce overcrowding, and we estimate that more offenders will be considered by the court to undergo a community rehabilitation programme,” he said during the launch of the Offenders Compulsory Attendance (Amendment) Act 2022 at the department headquarters.
Nordin added that the implementation of the new bill will also give minor offenders a chance to serve their terms outside of a prison setting.
Rehabilitation programme proven successful
Meanwhile, he said that the community rehabilitation programme has successfully reduced the number of repeat offenders, with an estimate of only one out of every 400 released convicts going back to jail.
“We aim to reach 10,000 offenders who undergo CAO this year and we have already reached 79.5%, and are confident that number can be reached before November this year,” he said.
Nordin said that there are currently 52 CAO centres across the nation and it hopes the government will consider establishing 20 more around the country.
At the same event, the Home Ministry secretary-general Wan Ahmad Dahlan said the Prisons Department could save up to RM182 million a year by implementing various programmes and initiatives.
He said that so far, the jail management had spent RM5.5 billion over the past 5 years on the cost of providing equipment, amenities, medication, food, control, escort, staff salaries, and other charges.
“These offenders will be placed in industry and then be able to fill workforce vacancies that employ foreigners,” he said.