By Wendy John
SIBU: It was the happiest moment for five inmates of Sibu Central Prison as they have been granted a seven-day licensed prisoner release (PBSL) over the festive holiday season.
This was also the first ever temporary home leave approved by the Sibu Central Prison.
A prisoner, Fit (not the real name), 30, was grateful to be given the opportunity to celebrate the Christmas public holiday with his family this year.
“I really miss my mom’s cooking especially her ‘rendang’ and ‘ketupat’. I will make sure that I spend the seven days with the whole family,” she said.
Another inmate, Aisyah, 33, could not wait to see and meet her son as she hopes to cook for him the variety of dishes she had learned during her six years in prison.
Sibu Central Prison director Azhar Ahmad pointed out that the programme was one of the ways of rehabilitating prisoners through the involvement of the community, especially their family members.
“The objective of the programme is to enable the prisoners to be with the family, to find a job or to plan for their future before they are being released.
“More importantly, they are able to celebrate Christmas with their family this year. These prisoners will be brought home by their family members and this will indirectly help them rebuild family relationships after not seeing each other for a long time,” he told reporters at the programme.
According to Azhar, the release was granted under Section 43 of the Prisons Act 1995 for eligible prisoners who fulfilled the conditions prescribed.
Among the conditions stipulated is that the prisoner must have served their jail sentence of not less than four years and have a remaining sentence of less than one year.
“They are granted temporary release licenses based on the application by their family members, and not from the prisoners themselves,” he explained.
Before the applications were accepted, recommendations from prison rehabilitation officers, psychologists and doctors were required while the prisoners must have a good track record.
“Once all these are met, we will submit this application to the department director-general for approval,” he said.
The prisoners will return on Dec 30 to serve the balance of of their sentence.
He added that during the interim release period, prisoners would be monitored by parole officers to ensure that the regulations under the PBSL programme were complied with.— DayakDaily