KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — The Prisons Department has implemented rehabilitation programmes for about two-thirds of eligible inmates within the community by 2030 to curb overcrowding in prisons.

Its director-general Datuk Nordin Muhamad said the department’s statistics for 2023 showed that 19,269 people have been placed in such rehabilitation programmes within the community, also known as PDK, The Star reported.

He said that the success rate for PDK was 95.77 per cent in 2023.

“As of Feb 14 this year, there are 3,988 prospects currently undergoing such programmes,” he was quoted as saying.


He added that from the number, 2,727 were placed under the Licensed Release of Prisoners (PBSL) programme and another 780 under the parole system.

Nordin said the PBSL, which was approved in October 2020, has to date seen the early release of 16,515 inmates who had met the stipulated criteria to reside within the community, outside of prison.

He also said other strategies are being mulled, including offering home detention to those under remand as well as suggesting suspended sentences as an alternative.


On March 2, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail was reported as saying that the government has agreed in principle to implement the PBSL through home detention for prisoners serving jail sentences of four years or less as an effort to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

Saifuddin said inmates involved in the initiative consisted of individuals with chronic diseases, the elderly, persons with disabilities and expectant mothers.

Separately, Nordin also said that the department has organised several inmate transfers to other prisons as a way to ease the congestion in prison.

He said this move reduces the strain on the seriously overcrowded prison and ensures it is safe and under control.

In February, Nordin had said that prisons nationwide were housing 75,000 inmates, while their total capacity was 71,000.

He also revealed that the Pengkalan Chepa prison in Kelantan is the most overcrowded in the country, where it held 37 per cent of the state’s inmate population based on statistics as of February 15.

Nordin pointed out that inmates in the remand category faced the most overcrowded conditions in prisons to date.

However, he said that inmates listed under “serious crime” do not face overcrowding issues.

He said the Prisons Department Strategic Plan 2021-2025 has also committed to replacing aging prisons.

“This is to ensure non-conducive prisons are replaced with more modern facilities that are suitable for current needs,” he was quoted as saying.

The prisons slated for replacement are those over 50 years old, which would be replaced with new buildings with the same capacity.