Deputy minister alarmed as Sg Buloh prison overflows with inmates

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The largest prison complex in Malaysia was designed to house a maximum of 2,500 prisoners.

However, the number of inmates in the Sungai Buloh prison has since soared beyond 4,500.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Ramkarpal Singh said the congestion is “very concerning” and can impact rehabilitation efforts.

“The prison institution is an important aspect of the justice system.

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“As such, prison congestion can certainly impact the efficacy of rehabilitation programmes,” he added on Twitter.

The deputy minister visited the prison on Monday as part of the government’s move to engage stakeholders on prison reform.

Last October, the Prisons Department announced that it targets to have two-thirds of detainees eligible to undergo community rehabilitation by 2030 to overcome prison congestion.

The department’s study found that for every 400 inmates in prison, 60 will become repeat offenders, while only one in 400 in community rehabilitation will do the same.

The move is also expected to save the government RM182 million in yearly operation costs of prisons.

The department set the target after the Dewan Rakyat passed amendments to the Offenders Compulsory Attendance (Amendment) Bill 2021, last July, which allows the court to sentence an offender to community rehabilitation, instead of jail time, for offences where the maximum penalty is three years imprisonment.

The move was to shift from a punitive to a rehabilitative justice system, as well as to reduce overcrowding in prisons and prevent the spread of infectious diseases behind bars. – Malaysiakini