Improve aftercare of former inmates: AGC
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THIRTY-SIX per cent of ex-prisoners have relapsed into criminal behaviour over the past three years, with the attorney-general describing the rate as “worrying”.
Datin Seri Paduka Hjh Hayati Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Dato Seri Paduka Hj Mohd Salleh said recidivism among prisoners should be addressed in a proactive manner through effective aftercare programmes.
“In my opinion, the Prisons Department’s programme on aftercare can be extended and strengthened with other more structured programmes, especially (targeting) those with a higher risk of committing crimes again since they are the most affected by life after imprisonment,” she added.
The attorney-general was speaking during the opening of the Prisons Department’s first seminar on rehabilitation and aftercare for prisoners.
She said a 2010 study found that financial issues, lack of support and assistance in terms of employment, and family were among the reasons inmates reverted to crimes.
Addressing the seminar’s theme of ‘Malay Muslim Monarchy (MIB): Basis of Integration’, the attorney-general said the national ideology should not only be fostered among inmates, but also agencies that deal with their rehabilitation and aftercare.
“An improved mindset at all levels of society regarding their roles and function in the care of former inmates can contribute to the country’s harmony,” said Datin Seri Paduka Hjh Hayati.
She added, “I am confident that an understanding of the importance of rehabilitation and aftercare services can reduce the social stigma and perception that society has towards former inmates.”
Datin Paduka Hjh Hayati also suggested the department to consider fitting methods for female inmates that could aid in their rehabilitation.
“This is especially for those who have children that still require breastfeeding. I am made to understand that a certain country have such best practices where they had successfully motivated these inmates to change and not repeat their mistakes, and they are able to take care of their innocent child’s welfare,” she said.
A total of 13 working papers from government agencies and non-governmental organisations from Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore will be presenting their ideas to rehabilitation and aftercare during the two-day seminar.
It was co-organised by the Prisons Department and the Malay Muslim Monarchy (MIB) Supreme Council.
Also present at the opening ceremony was Acting Director of Prisons Hj Ismail Hj Murat.
The Brunei Times