Tuesday, March 26

Prisons as correctional centres


CONGRATULATIONS: A section of the Prisons Department personnel who received their awards and certificates.

KUCHING: The state’s first correctional centre located in Bintulu is expected to be operational early next year.

Sarawak Prisons Department director Deputy Prisons Commissioner (DPC) Abd Kadir Rais said the centre, costing RM98.5 million, is the second in the state using fully integrated electronic system after Limbang.

He added the centre was already completed but there were several minor defects and the main contractor had to look rectify them before the project could be officially handed over to the Public Works Department (JKR).

He told reporters this after the presentation of service awards and certificates to over 100 prison officers and personnel during an assembly in conjunction with the Prisons Department’s 206th anniversary at the State Prisons Department headquarters at Km23, Jalan Puncak Borneo near here yesterday.

“The completion of this new centre is most appropriate as we are now in the process of re-branding. Now we want people to look at prisons as institutions to rehabilitate rather than just as a place for convicts to be punished for the crimes they have committed.

“This re-branding involves all prison institutions throughout the country although only the new centres will be gazetted as Criminal Correctional Centre. The existing prisons will still retain the original name since they were registered as such,” he said.

According to Kadir, the Correctional Centre in Bintulu would have a capacity to accommodate 500 inmates and when fully operational it will give priority to inmates convicted of minor crimes from the various surrounding areas.

“Those serving jail sentences for serious crimes will still be retained at the existing prisons, such as the integrated Kuching Central Prison,” he said.

At the assembly yesterday, Kadir read the message from the Prisons Department director general Prisons Commissioner General Dato’ Sri Zulkifli Omar.