Up to 1,000 professionals, volunteers to be trained in handling ex-offenders

With a high number of repeat offenders, it has become a priority to equip volunteers and professionals with the essential skills to handle the needs of offenders and their families.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli revealed on Monday that there will be up to 1,000 training slots this year in more specialised areas, to train both volunteers and professionals to handle a diverse range of offenders.

The Development Framework for Offender Rehabilitation Personnel (Dorp), a new training and development framework for the aftercare industry here, was first announced at last year's workplan seminar of the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-offenders (Care) Network. Since the start of the programme in January, 339 volunteers and professionals have been trained in 13 courses.

Speaking at the second Care Network's workplan seminar on Monday, Mr Masagos highlighted the need for personnel to receive training in more specialised areas like motivational interviewing in the prison context and working with families and children of offenders.

Repeat offenders remain a concern, even though recidivism rates have been generally stable over the years, said Mr Masagos. About one in four inmates fall back to crime after their release from prison.

Care Network is made up of eight core members, such as the Singapore Prison Service and Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association, as well as over 100 partners who work with them to rehabilitate prisoners. To date, all 1,600 volunteers with Care Network, have gone through basic training.