Forum: Rehabilitation is usually the dominant sentencing consideration for young offenders

We refer to the letter, "Be stricter with young people who commit serious crimes" (July 18), by Mr Lee Seng Young.

Rehabilitation is usually the dominant sentencing consideration for young offenders, for reasons including their relative lack of maturity and higher chance of being rehabilitated. Hence, young offenders will usually be sentenced to probation.

If a measure of deterrence is needed in addition to rehabilitation, reformative training may be imposed instead of probation, like in the case highlighted by the writer.

Reformative training is a more severe punishment compared with probation, as it involves a period of detention and a strict regimen. In even more serious cases, where rehabilitation can no longer be the main sentencing consideration, imprisonment may be imposed.

This approach ensures that when young offenders are sentenced, due regard is given not only to the age of the offender, but also to the other circumstances of the case, such as the seriousness of the offence and the harm caused. The court will consider the facts of each case before deciding on the most appropriate sentence to be imposed.

More information on sentencing can be found in the Guide on Sentencing in Singapore on the Ministry of Home Affairs' website at…

We thank the writer for his suggestions, which we will consider as part of our regular reviews.

Ng Li Sa (Dr)

Director (Policy Development and Security)

Policy Development Division

Ministry of Home Affairs

Tan Zhongshan


Criminal Policy Division

Ministry of Law

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