PUNCAK BORNEO, March 2 — The government has agreed in principle to implement the Licensed Release of Prisoners (PBSL), through home detention, for prisoners serving jail time of four years and below, as an effort to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said that his ministry is currently in the process of examining the implementation method from the point of view of relevant legal provisions, to ensure whether the existing laws and regulations need to be enacted or not.

“It needs to be reviewed whether it is sufficient to amend the existing laws, or whether there is a need to enact a new law under the authority of the Prisons Department director-general or the Home Ministry.

“I asked the Home Ministry secretary-general (Datuk Ruji Ubi) to review and provide feedback... this matter must be expedited,” he said.

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He said this in a press conference after the 234th Prison Day celebration at Puncak Borneo Prison Complex, here today.

According to him, the prison inmates involved in the initiative consist of individuals with chronic diseases, the elderly, persons with disabilities (PwD) and expectant mothers.

“If the convicted offence involves those from this category, we see that it is more humane if we place them outside and not inside the (prison) walls; for that purpose, we can attach gadgets to them so that we can implement home detention,” he said.

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Saifuddin said that, through programmes such as the Parole System, Compulsory Attendance Order and Community Rehabilitation, the government is not only able to tackle the problem of overcrowding in prisons, but it is also a cost-saving measure for the country.

He said that the programmes which had been implemented had a positive impact, with statistics showing that out of 800 prisoners released, only one was back in prison.

Earlier, Saifuddin Nasution read out the text of Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof’s opening speech for the event.

In the speech, Fadillah said that the Sarawak Prison institutions were named Outstanding State Prison Award 2023 recipients, following the excellent achievement of the four key performance indicators (KPI) of international standards in the management of the rehabilitation and prison system.

“The four KPl set, which are the recidivism rate of 12.7 per cent; remand (13.5 per cent) and overcrowding (-13.2 per cent), are much better than the international standard level of 20 per cent.

“The rate of incarceration is at 119 per 100,000 population, compared with the international standard of 145 per 100,000 population,” he said. — Bernama