Prisons are over capacity by almost 7,000 inmates, says Saifuddin

KUALA LUMPUR: Prisons in the country are overcrowded by over 6,000 inmates as of February this year, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

In a parliamentary written reply, the Home Minister said based on the records from the Prisons Department, a total of 78,236 people were currently undergoing detention at all the prisons institutions as of Feb 2, 2023.

"The total figure of 78,236 inmates has actually exceeded the actual occupancy capacity of 65,762 people (in the prison system), with an excess of 6,675 people," he said in reply to a question from Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (PN-Kubang Kerian) who asked the Home Ministry to state the numbers of prisoners in the prison facilities as well as the ratio of prison wardens to the number of prisoners.

Saifuddin added that from the total figures, some 92.59% of them were put in various facilities while the rest of 7.41% were prisoners who were serving outside the walls of prisons.

"The total figures cover a total of 39 prison facilities and three facilities involving Sekolah Henry Gurney," he added.

He said that the ratio of prison officers or warders to prisoners in each prison stood at one prison officer to three or five prisoners.

"The ratio changes based on the security category of the prisons, categories of prisoners as well as the requirements in the form of various training and rehabilitation programmes for the respective prisoners," said Saifuddin.

He also said that the Prisons Department from time to time would conduct studies on the suitability of the ratio of prison offers to prisoners to ensure that all requirements and placement of officers were in line with the level of prison security, category of prisoners in prison as well as recovery needs.

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