Ex-prison officer jailed for helping inmate convey messages

A former prison officer landed himself behind bars on Monday for passing a document to an inmate and taking out a copy of a letter sent to the inmate.

Parameswaran Selvadurai, 35, a Malaysian, was sentenced to two weeks' jail after admitting to two charges under the Prisons Act. A third similar charge was considered during his sentencing.

As a personal supervisor at Changi Prison, he was not supposed to convey messages or instructions by an inmate to his family members.

Any request made would have to be registered into the prison's database and submitted to his superiors for approval. All letters addressed to inmates are also registered in the database.

In February 2010, Parameswaran came to know Sashikumar Rathakrishnan who was detained in the maximum security cluster for being involved in secret society activities. Even though he was not Sashikumar's personal supervisor, he told him that he could approach him if he needed any help.

During one of their conversations, Sashikumar told Parameswaran that he needed to speak to his family urgently, and gave his wife Bavani Jayapalan's contact number. Parameswaran contacted her and gave her his mobile phone number. He also met her on several occasions even though he was not authorised to contact her.

Sometime in mid-2010, Madam Bavani handed an OCBC bank form to Parameswaran and asked him to get her husband to sign on it to close the bank account of the inmate's cleaning business. Parameswaran agreed and brought the form into Changi Prison to Sashikumar when he reported for work the next day.

On another occasion, he made a photocopy of a letter written by a female to Sashikumar and handed it over to Madam Bavani.

On both occasions, he did not seek authorisation from his superiors. He told the court he committed the offences out of compassion. Parameswaran, who has resigned and lost his permanent residence, could have been fined up to $3,000 and/or jailed for up to 12 months per charge.