Zahid: Reoffending rate of ex-convicts lowest in Asean

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says prisons are not meant to punish, but to rehabilitate.

MELAKA: The rate of repeated crimes among released convicts in the country stands at 7.6%, the lowest in the Asean region, says Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Zahid, who is also home minister, attributed the low rate to the country’s approach to rehabilitating prisoners.

“Prisons are not meant to punish but to rehabilitate, which sees them turn away from crime upon release.

“When they are out of prison, they are accepted by their families. Many convicts (after being released from prison) become songket and batik entrepreneurs or sell bread,” he said here today.

According to Zahid, only 0.4% of the prisoners released on parole become repeat offenders.

He said the decline proved the effectiveness of the parole system implemented by the prisons department, which included isolating convicts involved in serious crimes from those serving a jail sentence of six months.

“Cooperation among the community, family, employers and others also played a role in reducing the percentage of convicts on parole who repeated their crimes, besides the effectiveness of the implemented rehabilitation programme.”

He said the parole system had also helped reduce the operation costs and congestion of prisons throughout the country.