Home minister: Govt to improve prison-private sector collaboration to tackle overcrowding

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said community rehabilitation like the CSI will not only reduce prison management expenditures and overcrowding issues, but  also involve the community at large in the rehabilitation process of prisoners. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said community rehabilitation like the CSI will not only reduce prison management expenditures and overcrowding issues, but also involve the community at large in the rehabilitation process of prisoners. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KAJANG, Aug 2 — The Home Ministry is looking to further enhance the Prison Department's existing Corporate Smart Internship (CSI) programme to better improve parolees' reintegration into society and tackle prison overcrowding, as part of the government's ongoing prison reforms.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said community rehabilitation like the CSI will not only reduce prison management expenditures and overcrowding issues, but more importantly, also involve the community at large in the rehabilitation process of prisoners.

“This will help the overcrowding problem in Malaysia and this is important because we have prisons with 70,000 occupants meant for 50,000 people.

“So with this ongoing CSI scheme, we are hopeful that the corporate sector can share the responsibility of our burden together,” he said during a press conference at the Malaysia Prison Department headquarters here.

He said the government aimed to achieve its goal of having two-thirds of convicts undergoing rehabilitation within the community by 2030.

“Rehabilitation programme outside of prison walls involving the private sector through the CSI programme for parolees has a significant impact on them as they are able to secure a permanent job with their acquired skills when they are released,” he said.

Launched in 2016, the CSI is a collaboration between the Prison Department and the private sector to provide career training to parolee through theory and skill development in agriculture, manufacturing, industrial and service sectors.

According to statistics provided by the Prison Department, a total of 2,928 inmates have benefited from the CSI programme involving the participation of around 80 private companies nationwide since its inception.

Muhyiddin said around 39,000 inmates have benefited from alternative rehabilitation programme outside of prison with a recidivism rate of under 0.5 per cent.

He also acknowledged the small number of corporate participants in the CSI programme, citing the lack of awareness among the larger corporate sector of the existence of the programme.

“Maybe the private sectors do not know that the government provides tax incentives for them.

“That’s why we did this event today to spread awareness to the public in the corporate sector to come forward and get involved,” he said.

Muhyiddin said the CSI was an effort to reform prisons, whereby the concept of rehabilitation will be further enhanced to discourage inmates from re-offending.

“We must look further to the future where every individual including inmates and former inmates have an important role to play in contributing to the country's development.

“We are hopeful that reforms in the prison system will further benefit the shaping, nurturing and educating of inmates so that they may live a new life when they are released,” he said in his speech.

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