KAJANG Oct 11 — The Prisons Department Malaysia is targeting two-thirds of eligible inmates to undergo rehabilitation in the community by 2030, to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

Its director-general Datuk Nordin Muhamad said initiatives implemented since 2008, such as the parole system, Compulsory Attendance Order (PKW), Resident Reintegration Programme (PRP), licensed prisoner release (PBSL) and several other programmes can reduce overcrowding in prisons across the country.

He said based on the department’s statistics, there are 82,539 prison inmates and of that number, 76,336 are inmates in prison, while 6,203 are placed in 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 told the media at the launch of the Offenders Compulsory Attendance (Amendment) Act 2022 at the department headquarters here, today.

Nordin said the implementation of the new amendment bill could also provide an opportunity for minor offenders to serve their sentences outside prison.

He added that the community rehabilitation programme has proven to be effective because it has successfully reduced the rate of repeat offenders, with an estimate that only one in 400 released inmates returns to prison.

“We aim to reach 10,000 offenders who undergo PKW this year and we have already reached 79.5 per cent, and are confident that number can be reached before November this year,” he said.

In addition, he said that thus far there are 52 PKW centres, and hopes that the government will consider adding 20 more across the country.

The Home Ministry (KDN) secretary-general, Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz, was also in attendance, representing the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

Meanwhile, Wan Ahmad Dahlan, in his speech, said that the Prisons Department could save prison management costs by RM182 million a year through programmes and initiatives implemented.

He said that as much as RM5.5 billion had been spent over the past five years on prison management costs, for the provision of equipment, facilities, medicine, food, control, escort, staff emoluments and so on.

“These offenders will be placed in industry and then be able to fill workforce vacancies that employ foreigners,” he said. — Bernama