Bosses more open to hiring ex-offenders

We thank Mr Nicholas Matthew Goh for his feedback on the need to improve employment opportunities for former offenders ("Society must free ex-offenders from 'second prison'"; last Friday).

The Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (Score) has been facilitating former offenders' reintegration into the workforce through a number of Workforce Skills Qualifications-certified training programmes as well as job placement and retention initiatives.

We have partnered over 4,700 private sector employers who are committed to offering employment to former offenders.

Last year, 95 per cent of the 2,157 former offenders who received assistance in job placement successfully secured a job before their release.

Upon their successful placement, Score's job coaches are assigned to the former offenders to address any challenges they might face at work. This has helped to keep Singapore's recidivism rates low and stable.

Score's advocacy for acceptance, fair employment and equal opportunities for former offenders is an ongoing effort. The successful reintegration of former offenders requires the continued commitment of all parties.

We are heartened to note that the number of employers registered with Score increased 7 per cent, from 4,433 in 2014 to 4,745 last year, an encouraging indication that employers are becoming more receptive to hiring former offenders.

Score will continue to reach out to employers and the community to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of former offenders and enhance their employability.

Nevertheless, it is ultimately the responsibility of the individuals to stay resilient, crime-free and make the best of the second chances offered to them.

Juliana Abd Khalik (Ms)

Director, Reintegration

Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2016, with the headline 'Bosses more open to hiring ex-offenders'. Print Edition | Subscribe