Employers help prisoners turn over a new leaf

BUTTERWORTH: Inmates get a second chance at life after being offered employment leading up to their release.

The Prisons Department's initiative to help prisoners build a better life after being released has received good cooperation from employers willing to hire convicts and parolees.

K. Suraindran, 41, the owner of a carwash and office-cleaning services in Perai, here said he was working with the department to give prisoners on parole a chance to start a new life.

"I have been recruiting parolees and prospects from the Licensed Release of Prisoners (PBSL) scheme to work with my company since 2019, and so far, more than 250 people have worked with us, and everything is going well.

"In the beginning, I was a little worried and only hired two prisoners in 2019, but over time, these people can actually carry out the work well,” he told Bernama recently.

Suraindran said only two or three out of 100 inmate workers had problems involving their attitude that were not crime-related.

He said he was happy because most prisoners who finished working with him could start a new life without repeating past crimes.

"At any one time, I hire five to 10 prisoners and now there are seven of them working in my company, they usually work with us between three to 10 months depending on the length of sentence they are serving,” he said.

He said recruiting prisoners under the parole system and PBSL initiative could, among other things, overcome the shortage of workers and indirectly give offenders a second chance in society.

Meanwhile, an inmate in his 40s, who wants to be known as "Razak", said he was previously sentenced to a year in prison for a drug offence and was released five months early.

He said the opportunity to work at Suraindran’s company will be used as best as possible as he genuinely wants to build a new life after being fully released.

"I consider this a second chance and the best start for me to turn over a new leaf. This job also allows me to be independent and earn an income to support myself,” said Razak, who was previously self-employed.

According to Prisons Department director-general Datuk Nordin Muhamad, a total of 4,120 prospects or 4.94 per cent of the total of 80,000 prisoners, are undergoing rehabilitation in the community, including PBSL, mandatory attendance orders, parole and halfway houses.- Bernama

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