Suhakam says prisons need further reforms

28 Oct 2014 / 19:35 H.

    PETALING JAYA: A further systematic and cohesive reforms need to be instituted in prisons to address various fundamental issues, said Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
    It said some of the issues that need to be addressed are concerning medical care, including mental health care, for both staff and inmates, prison conditions, as well as working conditions of prison staff.
    Suhakam in a statement said these finding comes in the wake of it receiving a memorandum from Persatuan Penasihat Pengguna-Pengguna Malaysia on Aug 5, 2013, concerning the alleged mistreatment of Mr P. Uthayakumar in the Kajang Prison which led to it investigating with several follow-up actions.
    Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said these included a visit to Kajang Prison on Aug 13, 2013, to verify the complaints with relevant parties, an official letter to the Prison Department on Aug 21, 2013, concerning the issues highlighted in the memorandum, followed by a meeting with the Prison Department on Sept 4, 2013, to discuss among others, procedural issue related to written complaints received from inmates during Suhakam's visits to prisons.
    "Suhakam has also taken a step further by undertaking a thematic study into the issue on the right to health in prison with the objective to ensure that the conditions of prisons in the country are consistent with acceptable health and safety standards, and human dignity in order to achieve a criminal justice system that respects individual rights," he said.
    He added Suhakam has conducted special visits to prisons across the country to compile first hand data and information with regard to the issues faced by both inmates and prison staff and the methodology used involved surveys through questionnaires and interviews with relevant respondents regarding access to medical care in prisons.
    Suhakam visited 13 prisons and did the survey with 4086 inmates, 646 staff and 37 medical assistants.
    Hasmy said the findings and recommendations will be submitted to the relevant authorities with the aim to improve the health standards in prisons.

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