25 October 2017
October 25, 2017
Prison no place for delinquent children, says expert
PETALING JAYA: Several criminologists have expressed concern over a proposal to place problematic students in prison to rehabilitate them.
Criminologist and psychologist Geshina Ayu Mat Saat said it was not appropriate to have juvenile delinquents placed in an adult prison.
“Currently, there are intense rehabilitation programmes for adult criminals in Malaysian prisons. The assessments, target population, and guided rehabilitation programmes are tailored for adults and not for children.
“This means that unless otherwise stated and validated in the Malaysian context, assessment for adults should not be used to conduct an assessment on children,” Geshina told FMT.
Geshina was commenting on a media report that the education ministry was reconsidering a proposal to send students with serious disciplinary problems for rehabilitation in lock-ups and prisons.
The report had quoted Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid as saying that his ministry was discussing with the prisons department to determine the feasibility of the programme.
She said there had been literature that showed that incarcerating juvenile delinquents with adult offenders could result in more harm than good.
“There are a range of concerns that need to be addressed. These include their vulnerability to older criminals, gullibility and the potential to be groomed for criminal careers, exposure to negative environments that may hinder positive psychosocial growth, and may increase criminogenic predispositions,” she said.
Geshina said most of the offences that children commit were not even punishable with incarceration among adult criminals.
Thus, she believed that community rehabilitation programmes were more effective than sending juvenile delinquents to prison.
Universiti Sains Malaysia associate professor P Sundramoorthy said sending minors to prison would only create a negative stigma.
He said the “fear tactic” might not have the desired effect on the delinquent children, adding that it was merely a replication of a reality television show from the west.
He said the prison system in Malaysia was different from those in the west and it might not have reached an advance level where it could be a model for others to follow.
Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) vice-president Lee Lam Thye, meanwhile, said the proposal to send juvenile delinquents to prison could be considered for serious cases like gangsterism, drugs and serious crimes.
He said the education ministry should send such students for rehabilitation programmes in Henry Gurney reform schools while those who were only involved in less serious disciplinary cases, such as playing truant and loitering, should be sent for counselling.
“For those who are sent for rehabilitation in lock-ups or prisons, I hope the authorities will ensure that their studies are not affected while they are undergoing the rehabilitation process.”
October 25, 2017
Expelling students: Don’t take easy way out, education ministry told
PETALING JAYA: Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) today criticised the practice of expelling students as a way of dealing with disciplinary problems, saying this was “not the right move”.
Speaking to FMT, TI-M chief Akhbar Satar said the education ministry should not take “the easy way out”.
“The ministry should help by encouraging them to join anti-delinquent groups,” he said, referring to students with disciplinary issues.
According to Akhbar, students who are expelled for committing crimes would be sent to Henry Gurney schools, which were established to provide education and rehabilitation for juvenile inmates.
However, if students with non-criminal disciplinary issues were expelled, he said some might become drug addicts, which would only add to crime statistics.
Akhbar was commenting on a report that 442 students had been expelled so far this year for disciplinary problems such as gangsterism, bullying, drugs, truancy and criminal matters.
Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid said expulsion was the last resort as students with disciplinary problems were given counselling first.
However, Akhbar said the ministry should create a platform such as special schools to monitor and reform such students.
At these schools, students could undergo counselling from specialists to address their specific problem areas, he added.
“This differs from just being counselled generally.