Licensed release a timely move to reduce congestion in jails, says Lam Thye

KUALA LUMPUR: The move to implement the Licensed Release of Prisoners (PBSL) through home detention for those sentenced to four years and below is a timely move to reduce overcrowding in prisons, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

However, the Alliance for a Safe Community chairman said the government has to follow the best practices of other countries that have implemented such a policy to ensure there are no shortcomings.

"The government has to find out which countries have successfully introduced home detention to ensure that the PBSL is implemented without any problem," he said when contacted on Monday (March 4).

ALSO READ: Move to reduce overcrowding in prisons

Lee was commenting on the announcement by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail that the government has agreed to implement PBSL for those with jail terms of four years and below.

The prisoners involved would be allowed to serve out their sentences under 'home detention", the minister had said.

"While home detention is carried out, prisoners have to be properly monitored to ensure.

"There must not be any discrimination in choosing the prisoners (for PBSL).

"The government should ensure that there is no abuse of authority and the system has to be fairly implemented irrespective of whether the prisoners are VIPs or ordinary citizens," Lee said.

He noted that the Home Minister mentioned that the inmates considered for PBSL would be those with chronic diseases, the elderly, expectant mothers and persons with disabilities.

"These are the right groups... given their predicament and health conditions, as being in prison might worsen their condition," he said.

ALSO READ: Overcrowding in prisons: Capacity exceeded by 5.6% says Prisons DG

Saifuddin had said his ministry was examining the implementation method from a legal perspective.

"It needs to be reviewed whether it is sufficient to amend existing laws, or whether there is a need to enact a new law under the authority of the Prisons Department director-general or the Home Ministry.

"I asked the ministry secretary-general (Datuk Ruji Ubi) to review and provide feedback. This matter must be expedited,” he told a press conference after the 234th Prison Day celebration at the Puncak Borneo Prison Complex in Kuching on Saturday (March 2).

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