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No automatic parole for prisoners

PUTRAJAYA: The long-awaited parole for prisoners will be implemented beginning this July, Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said.

He said a total of 2,388 prison inmates would be eligible for it but they still had to apply for their release on parole to the Parole Board that would convene thrice a year.

"There is no automatic release of prisoners on parole though under the law (Prisons Act [Amended]) some 10,000 inmates could qualify for it this year," he said.

He said of the 10,000 inmates the Prisons Department found only 2,388 ready to be released on parole.

"Those who are not fully rehabilitated would not be released or considered for parole," he said, adding that the parole period for any inmate would only be the remaining one sixth (1/6) of the inmate's jail term.

Fu said a total of 667 prison officers would be trained to supervise inmates released on parole.

He said those on parole would also be monitored by the police from time to time to ensure they did not breach their parole conditions.

"Those who breach the parole conditions will be sent back to prison," he told a press conference at his office on Thursday. Also present were the Internal Security Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and Prison director-general Datuk Mustafa Osman.

He also said those convicted for sexual offences and serving life or death sentence or detained under the pleasure of the state Rulers, King or Governor would not be eligible for parole.

Fu called on the public to give their fullest co-operation in accepting those on parole back into society.

Prison director-general Datuk Mustafa Osman later said that parole officers would be unarmed and wear a new set of uniform (light blue shirt and dark pants) when meeting inmates on parole.

"We don't want the public to be suspicious and also shed the hard appearance depicted by the normal uniform," he said.

Mustafa said the parole system had been adopted from Australia's system and it would eventually reduce overcrowding in prisons and save up to RM20mil from the current operating cost of RM394mil a year.

"We have selected a total of 50 centres nationwide to implement the parole system that is also aimed at reducing repeat offenders, by providing a comprehensive rehabilitation programme," he said.

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