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Stories from Asia

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Working for peace in Cambodian Prisons
Conflicts between Cambodian prison officers and prisoners often results in violence. In response to this reality, PF Cambodia partnered with the organisation Peace Bridges to develop a training course to help prisoners and officers identify their attitudes and responses in conflict situations and replace these with more constructive strategies. According to an evaluation after a pilot project the prison had experienced a distinct reduction in violent incidents with in the facility.
Build on the Sycamore Tree Project®
In December 2009, seven prisoners completed the PF Philippines’ two-year programme called Restoring Personhood Module (RPM). RPM consists of five different courses -- starting with the Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) – to help prisoners develop in their faith and commitments to change behaviour.
PF Malaysia Conducts Two-Day Restorative Justice Symposium for Public Officials and Others
PF Malaysia conducted a two-day symposium on restorative justice on June 1 and 2.
PF Singapore Explores Restorative Justice
On May 30, PF Singapore sponsored a half-day training session on restorative justice theory and programmes.
Open Court in Prison
For years Prem Kumar, executive director of Prison Fellowship Malaysia, has watched remand prisoners languish in prison as they await trial. Recently, Prem shared his concerns about the situation of 332 remand prisoners with a friend visiting his home. This friend, a former deputy public prosecutor and current Manager of Sabah Courts, decided to see what could be done. He asked Prem to use his role as a Visiting Justice (position created in the Malaysian prison legislation to inspect prisoners) to ask these remand prisoners if they wanted to plead guilty. As a result, the first Open Court session in prison was held on 15 October.
Speaking for the Forgotten
The old adage, “children are to be seen and not heard,” was not supposed to apply to the justice system. Unfortunately, children can often become voiceless victims in an overburdened justice system that is lacking in resources. That is what Vijula Arulanantham, PF Sri Lanka Board chairperson, discovered when visiting a juvenile remand home recently. The children here were not all offenders. Many were victims— street children abandoned or neglected.
PF Pakistan Helps Change Law
It’s a change that could affect every Christian prisoner in Pakistan. On 4 August 2008, the Governor of the Punjab (the Punjab Province is the country’s most densely populated region) made an unprecedented and much-lauded amendment to the Pakistan Prison Rules of 1978 that allows non-Muslim prisoners to benefit from the same allowance for a remission in their sentences as Muslim prisoners enjoy.
Freeing Prisoners in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, prisoners held in remand indefinitely are called 'no date' prisoners. While the law requires that they be given the opportunity for bail within two years, many are serving as much as three or four years without trial or a bail hearing according to Vijula Aralanantham, board chairperson of PF Sri Lanka. Responding to many requests for assistance received by staff and volunteers visiting prison, the ministry started the Prison Fellowship Legal Aid Team (PFLAT).
PF Philippines Trains Jail Officers in Restorative Justice
In late 2007, the board chairperson of PF Philippines, Dr. Rey Taniajura, conducted a three-day training class for 44 non-commissioned jail officers from across the Philippines.
Update from the PF Singapore Faith-based Unit
The PF Singapore faith-based unit pilot is in its 10th month of operation with 39 prisoners remaining in the unit in Changi Prison Complex Institution A2.
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