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Serving juveniles share their hopes for future

13th October, 2017


KOTA KINABALU: Juvenile delinquents who are in Kota Kinabalu Integrity School want to make a difference with their life through education despite behind bars.

Five out of eight young inmates who are held and placed under the care of Sabah Prisons Department (SPD) walls yesterday met their parents in a special event.

The approach by SPD was meant to encourage and provide emotional support to the juveniles who will sit for their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations soon.

“Education is important to break the cycle of poverty. With an education, you will be looking at a promising future,” SPD Director Haji Suria Haji Idris told the students.

Suria highlighted seven ex-students from the Integrity School who are currently pursuing their higher education at vocational schools, and the department wants to see more inmates following suit.

The director plans to match their peninsula counterpart for their excellence in fostering an ex-convict education to eventually obtain a masters degree.

He also stressed that blessing from parents are crucial in determining an individual’s way of life. Otherwise, living a ritzy life without their blessing is pointless, he said.

A 20-year-old jailbird who wishes to be known as Capo sits at a rectangular table along with two other boys whose family did not show up.

The eldest of five related that his mother is in the terminal stage of brain cancer at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, while his father is mentally unstable from years of drug abuse.

“We only found out about my mother’s illness last month when she complained of severe headaches. “She used to visit me when she was healthier…Obtaining the SPM qualification will be my personal gift to my mother,” he said.

Incarcerated for drug related offences and burglary in 2012, the teenager is no stranger to prison life. He said that although it was his fourth time inside, he vowed it to be his last.

He recounted the time where police finally caught up with him and his gang at an inn in Bongawan following a long manhunt.

“Prison life deprived me of my addictions, but inside (prison) I am liberated from the cravings. Drugs dragged me and many of my friends down.

“People’s perception about ex-convicts has to change, like the way I have changed,” Capo reassured.

Meanwhile, Hisyam, a student of automotive engineering at the Industrial Training Institute in Tuaran thanked his teacher endlessly for her guidance while he was in the Integrity School.

About seven years ago in Sandakan, he was sentenced to serve five years in jail but was later transferred to SPD and given an early chance to freedom by parole.

This notion though, was shunned by his teacher who had made him sit for SPM exams inside the Integrity School which ultimately reshaped his life.

Hisyam said reintegrating into society after being curtained from the world is hard especially for a long sentence such as his.

“But my family is very accepting of me and that had made me feel welcomed back into society,” Hisyam said.

In July, Deputy Director of Kota Kinabalu Woman’s Prison Fauziah Husain has said that instances of recidivism can be reduced by hiring ex-convicts.

“The stigma associated with ex-convicts should be eliminated by the public so their re-integration process into society will be a smooth one,” she said.

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