Cablegate: Brunei's Prisons: Current Conditions and Future Plans
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHBD #0258/01 3030610
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300610Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4686
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN 000258
DEPT FOR EAP/MTS/COPPOLAMG, CA/OCS/PROCTORL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PHUM CASC BX
SUBJECT: BRUNEI'S PRISONS: CURRENT CONDITIONS AND FUTURE PLANS
1.(SBU) On October 28, 2009, DCM and POL Assistant visited Brunei's
newest prison facility - Maraburong Prison. Deputy Director Abdul
Manan Hj Abdul Rahman, along with his senior staff, lead a tour and
answered questions about Brunei's penal system. While conditions in
the prison are good, a third of inmates have undergone canning. The
most common offences are drug-related, followed by immigration
violations. The death penalty has not been carried out since 1996.
About one third of the inmates are foreigners and there has never
been an American prisoner. Brunei's penal system is primarily
focused on rehabilitation. Reintegration of prisoners into society
is a significant issue. The department is planning to centralize
all prisoners in the Maraburong complex and is undergoing a three
phase construction project with a total capacity of 1000 prisoners,
far exceeding the current population of almost 400. Prison
officials would like to have immigration offenders housed in
separate facility. Currently, there is no juvenile detention
facility. Prison officials expressed interest in learning more about
the U.S. prison system, with a focus on prison industries and the
parole system. Embassy would like to facilitate visits and welcomes
Department support. End Summary.
BRUNEI'S PRISON SYSTEM: DEMOGRAPHICS AND TRENDS
2.(SBU) There are a total of 386 inmates in the entire Brunei penal
system. Of this total, 372 are convicted prisoners and 14 are on
remand awaiting trial. About 30 percent of the inmate population is
foreign. Indonesians, followed by Malaysians and Filipinos, are the
largest group of foreign inmates. There has never been an American
prisoner, according to officials. There are about 40 women inmates
who are housed at the Jerudong prison facility. The largest
percentages of inmates are incarcerated for drug-related offences.
Those serving for immigration offences make up the next largest
group of prisoners. Prison officials stated they see a growing
trend amongst those convicted for drug offenses. More inmates are
being convicted for trafficking and using methamphetamine. In
addition, male inmates convicted for sexual offences are also on the
DEATH PENALTY, CANNING, AND PAROLE
3.(SBU) The last death sentence occurred in 1996. Today, offenders
on death row can appeal their sentences to His Majesty and the
current trend is for the sentence to be commuted to a life sentence.
However, less than five percent of inmates on life sentences are
commuted for release. A total number of 184 inmates have undergone
corporal punishment - canning- between 2008 till October 2009. The
most common offenses that carry the canning penalty are: Drug
offences, immigration violations, prostitution, and violent crimes.
Brunei's penal system does not have parole but it does have a
remittance system where a third of the sentence is automatically
reduced if prisoner maintains good behavior while incarcerated.
FACILTIES AND SERVICES:
4.(SBU) Brunei's prison department currently has two correctional
facilities - the Jerudong Prison that accommodates the serious
offenders and women inmates (separately), and the Maraburong prison
which houses minimum to medium security offenders. There is an
almost one to one ratio of guard to prisoners with a total of 133
prison staffs including wardens and civil officers at Maraburong.
Brunei has a "docile" prison population according to Deputy
Director, Abdul Manan, who stated there have been no riots in
Brunei's prisons in the past 30 years. The department previously
operated the drug rehabilitation center, but handed over the
facility to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in February 2008.
Both prison facilities have permanent resident medical officers who
are provided by the Ministry of Health.
FOCUS ON REHABILITAION
5. (SBU) Brunei's prisons are primarily focused on rehabilitation
programs with a mission to "protect and rehabilitate efficiently".
Rehabilitation, in the form of religious education for Islamic
prisoners, is conducted by officials from the Ministry of Religious
Affairs. According to Superintendent Isamuddin Juna, as part of
their social/religious rehabilitation, the prison also provides for
"religious freedom" by observing religious holidays for inmates of
different religions. For secondary education, inmates are given the
opportunity to retake various school examinations as most inmates
are unemployed school drop-outs. (NOTE: Brunei's education system is
modeled after the British "A" and "O" level system. End Note)
Vocational training, in woodworking and agricultural skills, is the
primary job training provided. The woodworking products are of
commercial quality but the prison has had difficulty setting up
commercial ventures to market and sell their products throughout
Brunei. Inmates receive daily salaries but are not compensated
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directly from product sales. Prison officials noted their interest
in learning more about the U.S. Federal Prison's UNICOR Industries.
LOW RECIDIVISM BUT TOUGH TIME INTEGRATING
6.(SBU) Recidivism rates are relatively low, between 10-15 percent.
However, prison officials stated inmates have difficult time
reintegrating into Bruneian society. For example, a Bruneian has
been to prison 22 times because his fellow Bruneians, including his
family, have refused to allow him "back into society." Prison
Officer Zulhilmi Bakri said his office is working on addressing
society's stigmatization of former convicted inmates in order for
the individual to have a smoother reintegration into society.
Community based programs along with a parole system that more
closely monitors the inmate after his/her release is envisioned as
means to assist with reintegration. Currently, inmates are simply
released with no follow up services required or provided.
7. (SBU) The Maraburong Prison's Phase 1 facility can currently
house 200 inmates at maximum capacity. The Prison's Phase 2
project; is currently under construction. Phase 3 will be completed
in 2011. The goal is the ability to accommodate 1000 inmates. All
inmates will be housed in the Maraburong facility once the third
phase is completed. The Jerudong facility is planned to house
immigration offenders. The Prison Department hopes to establish a
community-based correctional facility for juvenile delinquents in
the future due to the current court policy that juveniles are
imposed a fine rather than sent to prison. However, the department
faces an uphill battle for funding. Community based programs, in
conjunction with a parole like system, is of keen interest. The
Prison officers noted that they would like to visit U.S. facilities
to learn more about the U.S. prison system, particularly the parole
system and prison industries. Embassy would welcome Department's
support in facilitating this request.