Expo promotes inmates’ crafts

National 2 minutes, 22 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Prisons Department and the Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday launched a three-day exhibition of items handcrafted by former and current prison inmates at the Airport Mall in Berakas, a project which represents the efforts made to help rehabilitate inmates through workmanship skills.

Dubbed “One Village, One Product Handicrafts and Agricultural Expo and Prisons Departments’ Exhibition’, the expo also offers local products of the village consultative councils (MPK) from all four districts.

This is the second exhibition since last year where the products of the former detainees are on display and offered for sale.

The acting Director of Prisons Department Hj Ismail Hj Murat, in his opening speech, said the expo was aimed to raise confidence of the public to reaccept former prisoners back into society.

“It is vital for the prisons department to receive support from members of the public in these rehabilitation and reintegration processes of inmates as they one day will become a needed asset to the family, society and country,” he said.

Alhamdulillah, various programmes have been successfully established. The programmes have also been beneficial by giving job opportunities to former inmates,” Hj Ismail said.

Under the prison department’s Counselling and Supervision Services Programme, inmates are guided to get back on their feet through religious, motivational, and vocational programmes among others, said another official. She said since its establishment in 2014, around 30 inmates have joined the programme.

“Some have even gone to start up car washes and other businesses such as food (business),” she said adding that the former inmates are continuously monitored to prevent them from slipping back into their delinquent ways.

“It is not the regular case that inmates would simply relapse into criminal activity, but the fact that, on most occasions is due to drug addiction which makes them re-commit the delinquent acts,” she said.

She added that some cases of relapse would be of inmates continuously recommitting offences causing them to be imprisoned around “seven to 16 times in and out (of prison),” these are categorised as high-risk offenders.

Hj Ismail added the launch of the exhibition was in conjunction with 62 years since the prisons establishment. The Miri and Limbang prison centres are also taking part this year.

Various handicrafts displaying the artisan skills of the inmates and former inmates are on sale. The exhibition boasts a wide choice of wooden furniture, native bags and baskets and variety of food among others. Some of the food stalls are run by former inmates who have learned how to cook and run a business.

The artisan or the trader gets a certain percentage of the sale, said one of the stall operators.

Various activities will be held during the three-day expo including blood donation in collaboration with the Laboratory Department under the Ministry of Health as well as noodle-cooking competition using mee senukoh.

The Brunei Times