| Azlan Othman |
LOCALS make up some 57 per cent of the prison inmates in 2013, and about the same figure in 2012, with Malays constituting the largest fraction.
Senior Prisons Counsellor Pg Omar bin Pg Hj Othman disclosed this yesterday, adding that the common offences committed by inmates were drug misuse and theft.
In 2013, the total number of inmates occupying prisons was 454, of which 259 were locals. In 2012, there were 477 inmates, 281 of whom were locals.
Speaking at the two-day Social Issues Seminar at the Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong yesterday, Pg Omar pointed out during his presentation on ‘Counsellling and Supervision Services; Integrating Peers To Become Useful Society’ that both religious and educational programmes are focused on during the rehabilitation process in prison. Vocational and handicraft making skills are also taught.
“But what is obvious is that readmission still exists, with 2013 recording 38 per cent and 2012 recording 33 per cent. Readmission is a burden faced by the Prisons Department and the nation as a whole,” he added.
A 2014 research conducted on drug offenders showed that a lack of interest and educational negligence led to developmental isolation. This drove them to engage in prohibited activities and eventually meddle with drugs.
Meanwhile, a 2006 research on drugs recidivism revealed that the difficulty in securing a job or being jobless has influenced drugs convicts to take drugs and be readmitted to prison.
Another research conducted in 2010 found the reasons for readmission included lack of self-strength and peer influence, eagerness to try drugs, being jobless and a lack in effort to positively change one’s lifestyle.
Surveys have also revealed that recurrence was due to personal and psychological problems. Due to unstable emotions and pressure, anxieties exist upon their release. They end up facing difficulty integrating back into society. This problem worsens if there is no support from the family.
Last year, counselling and supervision services were set up to help former inmates face life challenges after their release from prison.