Prisons swell with 16,000 extra inmates

A total of 68,000 prisoners are held in Malaysia’s prisons, a senior official says.

KAJANG: About 68,000 prisoners are currently housed in Malaysia’s 42 prisons, or about 16,000 more than the total capacity, a senior prisons official said.

Although the number of inmates exceeds the capacity of 52,000, the prisons were able to accommodate them, said Alzafry Mohamed Alnassif Mohamed Adahan, a deputy director-general of prisons.

He said the number of prison inmates was increasing every year.

“The total number consists of 54,508 Malaysians and 14,095 foreigners. Occupancy is increasing and if you follow the trend, the number will not decrease,” he said.

This year, however, the influx of new residents had decreased because of the lower crime rate following national lockdowns as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alzafry Mohamed Alnassif said the department always practised physical distancing and complied with procedures set by the government to break the Covid-19 infection chain.

He said new inmates would be quarantined in a special designated block upon admission and the prisons would conduct an examination first before they were allowed to be placed with other inmates.

“If these inmates are found to be unwell, the Prisons Department will contact the Ministry of Health or the nearest hospital for further action,” he said.

In early June, an illegal immigrant detained at Sungai Buloh prison was confirmed positive for Covid-19.