Better utilise reporting sessions for youth offenders

These regular reporting sessions could serve a greater purpose if youth are reminded not to re-offend.
These regular reporting sessions could serve a greater purpose if youth are reminded not to re-offend.ST FILE

Having been asked to be the bailor for two young people caught for drug consumption and subsequent petty theft, I have been accompanying them to the police station to make monthly reports while their cases are being investigated.

I have observed that nothing happens during these reporting sessions. The authorities require the signatures of the offender and the bailor to keep an official record of the session, but nine out of 10 times, no questions are asked.

These youth know the drill by now, and I even know of several other young people who repeatedly commit similar offences with a total disregard for the law.

It worries me that these monthly reporting sessions seem to serve no purpose, as they do not even warn young offenders against re-offending.

These regular reporting sessions could serve a greater purpose if youth are reminded not to re-offend.

One suggestion is to have a counsellor sit in with the police officer during each reporting session and spend 20 to 30 minutes speaking with the offender to find out more about their recent activities, while reminding them of the consequences of re-offending.

I understand that it is not the responsibility of the Singapore Police Force to reform delinquent youth but by working together with the social service sector, it can keep these reporting sessions from going to waste.

We should do what we can to steer these youth in the right direction, and keep them from destroying their own bright futures.

Aisling Ong (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'Better utilise reporting sessions for youth offenders'. Print Edition | Subscribe