Programme to help former inmates transition back into society begins next week

|     Azlan Othman     |

A PROGRAMME to assist former prison inmates begin their new lives and integrate back into society via a business-oriented and selling project will kick off on January 26 at the Royal Brunei Recreation Club.

The aftercare programme, jointly organised by the Prisons Department’s Reintegration Division, institutions under the Prisons Department, and a number of NGOs, will teach the former inmates the basic skills required for them to generate their own income, Pengiran Haji Haris bin Pengiran Haji Duraman, the Managing Director of Riza Group (one of the NGOs) and a member of the Brunei Darussalam Aftercare Committee (PROTEM), told the Bulletin yesterday.

“As concerned members of the public, we need to shape the former inmates to be useful to society, to boost their self-belief and [make them think that] there’s still light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

“Profits gained [from their ventures] are a blessing, no matter how small. The responsibility to integrate the former inmates back into society should not be solely the responsibility of the government agencies, it is also that of the private sector bodies and organisations. The support from the private and public sectors is important to give the former inmates back their confidence,” Pengiran Haji Haris added.

Several companies will take part including where proceeds from the programme, will be channeled to a dedicated fund which will be used later for other business purposes.

Recently, a training, internship and work placement briefing programme for inmates in its pre-release stage was also held.

The briefing was facilitated by representatives from the Brunei Darussalam Aftercare Committee, RH Amanina, Riza Group, and Seantaro Services – all of which collaborated in the aftercare programme.

The collaboration ensures that the former inmates have access to training and work placement opportunities in appropriate fields and sectors once they re-enter society.

The programme’s short-term target is to give the former inmates a source of income to fulfil their basic needs, as well as to teach them to be independent, contribute to the economy, and live in harmony with the community.