KOTA KINABALU – About 99 per cent of the 21,189 prisoners who completed their rehabilitation outside prison or via the parole system from 2008 to 2015, found employment, said Prisons Malaysia director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Omar.
He said the former prisoners had secured jobs either through self-employment or by working for employers in various fields.
“The number shows that the level of awareness of these ex-convicts to lead a better life after being released, is high. Last year’s (2015) statistics showed that only 0.34 per cent of ex-convicts relapsed into criminal behaviour, and the number is very small,” he said during the presentation of the 2015 Excellent Service Awards and the Commissioner General of Prison’s Medal at the Sabah state-level here, Monday.
He said rehabilitation outside prison or the parole system via community-based programmes could provide an opportunity for inmates to get closer to the community, thus facilitate them to be accepted by society.
Zulkifli said the results showed that the rehabilitation programme managed to effectively control the rate of recidivism (inmates relapsing into criminal behaviour), with 8.7 per cent recorded in 2015, below the 9 per cent-level set by the Home Ministry.
“An effective and organised rehabilitation programme within or outside the prison walls, as well as support from all parties were important factors to the success, and we are targeting a 5 per cent recidivism rate by 2020,” he said.
Commenting on the awards, Zulkifli said this year, 1,254 officers of various ranks from the Prisons Department were selected, and 132 of them were from the prisons department in Sabah.
He said the awards should serve as a motivation to continue the success of the department, and that the recipients should become role models to other members towards achieving the department’s goals.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters after the ceremony, he said prisons throughout the country could still accommodate inmates, even though it was currently operating at a little above its capacity.
“Prisons across the country can accommodate about 52,600 inmates, and now we have a total of 55,000 prisoners. However, the excess capacity can be overcome through various approaches, including the transfer of inmates to other prisons, from time to time,” he said. – BERNAMA