'Prisoners need to serve their sentence in prison, that is the procedure' - Activist

05 Mar 2024 06:08pm
Activist calls for clear definition and impact assessment of home detention policy. Small picture: Kannis.
Activist calls for clear definition and impact assessment of home detention policy. Small picture: Kannis.

SHAH ALAM - Human rights activist K Kannis Kanniah expressed concerns about the potential social impact of the government's proposed Licensed Release of Prisoners (PBSL) programme through home detention.

Kanniah believes home detention might not effectively deter crime or prompt rehabilitation.

According to him, any leniency given to prisoners means that the offenders are not undergoing their rightful punishment.

"I do not agree with and oppose this decision.

"It is very strange when the government takes such action.

"We are not trying to belittle them (prisoners), but they need to serve their sentence in prison only because anyone who commits an offence must face the punishment process, that is the procedure.

"If it is home detention, it will encourage more crime because others will not be afraid to commit offences since even if they do wrong, they will just stay at home," he said yesterday.

It was reported that the government, in principle, agreed to initiate the Licensed Release of Prisoners through home detention to prisoners serving sentences of four years and below as an effort to reduce prison overcrowding.

Related Articles:

According to the Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, the inmates involved in the programme consist of individuals with chronic illnesses, the elderly, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and pregnant women.

Commenting further, Kannis said that prison overcrowding should not be used as an excuse because the government can still utilise land and prisoner services as labour to build prisons as done in other countries.

He said the government should also consider utilising abandoned estate houses throughout the country because the residents have already migrated to urban areas.

"Why not bring those prisoners there, besides giving them jobs on the farms instead of using the services of foreign workers.

"If it is home detention but in an estate, I agree," he stressed.

He added that the government needs to clarify the definition of home detention and the impact that truly benefits society as a whole.

"Our country is not small; there are many places to build. We can also use the services of prisoners as labour to build (prisons).

"What does home prison mean? The government needs to explain what its definition and impact are because this decision does not make sense," he said.