Integrated programmes vital in reducing recidivism among convicts in Sarawak, says Fatimah

Fatimah striking the gong to launch the programme.

SIBU, Sept 20: Several integrated programmes have been implemented since August 2018 to address drug and substance abuse issues at State and district levels.

These programmes are important to reduce recidivism among convicted criminals in the State.

Speaking at a Licensed Inmates Release Outreach Programme (PBSL) 2022 today, Minister of Women, Early Childhood, and Community Wellbeing Development, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said the issue of drug and substance abuse has been given priority because of its connection with other social issues such as property crime (between 40-80 per cent), domestic violence (52 per cent); family problems (10 per cent); and teenage pregnancy (3 per cent).

She said according to Sarawak Prisons Department records, a total of 1,274 prisoners were imprisoned for drug and substance abuse activities in 2021.

“In order to provide empowerment support to prisoners and ex-prisoners, Sarawak Social Development Council (SDC) is spearheading several integrated programmes through the One-Stop Centre (OSC) to address drug and substance issues at State and district levels from August 2018,” said Fatimah.

The Dalat assemblywoman revealed SDC is closely collaborating with the Prison Department to implement the empowerment programme for prisoners and ex-offenders involved in drug and substance abuse in Sarawak.

The recidivism rate in Sarawak is at 98 out of 100,000 residents. This rate is the lowest in the nation and among the lowest in the world, according to Fatimah.

For the month of January until August 2022, the admission rate of recidivism was 3.54 per cent, she said.

On PBSL, Fatimah said it provides prisoners a second chance and is also a privilege granted to deserving prisoners for reasons such as strengthening family ties, finding job opportunities, planning for the future and other matters deemed appropriate by the Commissioner General of Prisons.

In addition, PBSL also aims to reduce overcrowding in prisons and provide relief to prisoners to serve their prison sentences outside the confines of prisons and follow community rehabilitation programmes.

Among those present were Malaysia Prison Department commissioner, Ajidin Salleh and State deputy prison commissioner, Mohd Andri Ridzwan. — DayakDaily