Saifuddin: No new prisons planned, those over 100 years to be redeveloped

KAJANG: Several prisons will be upgraded while those over 100 years old will be redeveloped to make them more conducive for inmates and Prisons Department staff.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (pic) said among those identified for that purpose are the Alor Setar prison in Kedah; Penang Prison, the Kamunting Correctional Centre (Perak) and the Pengkalan Chepa Prison in Kelantan.

“We are going with this (approach). We do not want to build new prisons because we want to reduce the crime rate and convictions.

“This is also to create prisons with more humane conditions to live in,” he said.

He told reporters this after an official visit, along with his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, to the Prisons Department headquarters here on Tuesday (Jan 3).

Saifuddin also said that the Home Ministry would add more Prison officers and personnel and also expedite the hiring process.

He said the Prisons Department needed 1,300 officers and uniformed personnel as well as some 180 non-uniformed staff to fill the department’s staffing requirements.

At the same time, Saifuddin said the Home Ministry wanted to change public perception by identifying prisons as more of a correctional centre rather than a place to punish convicts.

This would be done through Community Correctional Programmes such as parole and licensed prisoner release (PBSL) in accordance with Section 43 of the Prisons Act 1995, he added.

“We will target this programme for 18,500 offenders who are currently serving prison sentences of less than three years, (and) who are considered not to have committed serious offences.

“Looking at the statistics of the Correctional Programme and its success, it has clearly helped reduce the recidivism rate, with only one in 800 offenders returning to prison after being released,” he said. – Bernama