Minister: prisoner befriending programme 'moving in right direction'

The Singapore Prison Service Befriending Programme is "moving in the right direction", Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said on Saturday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
The Singapore Prison Service Befriending Programme is "moving in the right direction", Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said on Saturday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Prison Service Befriending Programme is "moving in the right direction", Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said on Saturday.

The programme now has a pool of 230 volunteers who help offenders reintegrate into society after their release. Its numbers have increased sixfold since it was started in 2010. 

Its latest addition of volunteers come from the grassroots divisions from Tampines, Taman Jurong and Admiralty.

The 'befrienders' visit prisoners to mentor them and also communicate by letter.

They also provide emotional support and practical advice for challenges on their release, such as finding housing and financial stability.

More than 400 offenders have received support through the programme, Mr Masagos told a 'befrienders dialogue and appreciation luncheon'.

He added: "With more divisions on board, we are moving in the right direction in showing community acceptance through welcoming offenders back into the community, not as ex-offenders but as fellow citizens."