Forum: Strong support in place for inmates with families

A female inmate hugging a family member in Changi Prison during an open visit, on Dec 14, 2019.
A female inmate hugging a family member in Changi Prison during an open visit, on Dec 14, 2019.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

We thank Mr Wong Bheet Huan for his letter and support for the rehabilitation of offenders (Do more for female inmates with young children, Dec 27, 2019).

Family programmes are an integral part of the overall rehabilitation framework to prevent re-offending. The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) works with our community partners to conduct several family programmes for inmates with children. These programmes help inmates gain a better understanding of their roles as parents and learn important parenting and communication skills. Children and caregivers also receive support to help them sustain their family bonds during the period of incarceration as part of these programmes.

Open visits are organised as part of various family programmes for inmates. These visits provide a platform for inmates to put into practice the communication and interpersonal skills they have learnt. The frequency of open visits varies, depending on each programme's objectives, with some programmes having more than two open visits per year.

In addition to open visits, inmates also have one face-to-face visit with their families, or up to two tele-visits monthly. They can also write up to four e-letters to their families every month, who in turn can send e-letters to them daily. Suitable inmates who demonstrate good conduct and progress in their rehabilitation may also be placed on Community-Based Programmes which will allow them to spend more time with their families.

We hope that such programmes and initiatives help inmates with children realise their responsibility as parents, strengthen their resolve to turn away from a life of crime and prevent re-offending.

We assure Mr Wong that SPS recognises that strong family support is crucial in an inmate's rehabilitation and reintegration journey. SPS will continue to work with the relevant agencies and our community partners to provide programmes that will benefit inmates and their families.

Titus Kong

Director

Corporate Communications and Relations

Singapore Prison Service

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2020, with the headline 'Strong support in place for inmates with families'. Print Edition | Subscribe