KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Prison Department has taken a novel approach to enable those behind bars to keep in touch with their loved ones and their respective lawyers.
This approach was taken after visits to prisons nationwide were barred following the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to curb the spread of the Covid-19 infection.
A Prison Department’s Public Relations spokesperson said prisoners instead can call their families members and lawyers by using ‘wartel method’ or through payphone.
“We have provided a payphone facility to the prisons. The prisoners are given pre-paid cards to make their calls. And they are allowed to top-up the card balance using funds provided by their family members during their previous visits, or by utilising money generated through the attendance of classes inside the prisons,” he told the New Straits Times recently.
The measures were put in place following the announcement of the MCO which took effect from yesterday onwards to reduce any risk of direct transmission of Covid-19 to prison inmates.
“We have decided to adopt this method, as there is a high chance of transmissions during visits,” he said.
Apart from the ‘wartel method’, the spokesperson said personnel from the Prison Department Headquarters, State Director's Office, training centre and prison museum were working from home, as directed by the MCO.
“Prison institutions and the District Parole Officer are operating as usual.
“For staff, as well as inmates entering prison institutions must undergo a temperature check. For those found with body temperature above 38 degree Celsius will immediately be referred to the Institutional Health Officer for follow-up action.
“As a precaution, we have also closed down operation and classes at Henry Gurney School and Integrity Schools,” he said, adding that canteen and rehabilitation programme within the prison institutions such as religious class and entrepreneurial classes are nevertheless operating as usual, albeit under tight supervision.