Replies: Ex-offenders

Sustained and stable employment critical for reintegration

We thank Mr Frank Singam for his letter calling for more to be done to help former offenders (Basic needs of offenders need to be met during rehabilitation, March 3).

The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) are committed to helping former offenders reintegrate into society. We adopt a multi-pronged approach which involves government agencies, the community, employers, families and former offenders themselves working closely together.

Sustained and stable employment is critical. YRSG and SPS have been partnering the industry to provide job opportunities for former offenders, and preparing them for employment through appropriate education, skills training and work opportunities during their incarceration.

Currently, around 5,900 employers partner YRSG to offer jobs to former offenders. Once employed, former offenders are assigned career coaches to provide career retention support for up to 12 months.

Employers partnering YRSG are expected to abide by the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, which include hiring based on merit, offering market-competitive salaries and adopting fair and progressive work practices. YRSG does not tolerate any exploitation or mistreatment of former offenders by their employers. YRSG will intervene and engage employers to resolve any issues, and work with the relevant authorities to take the employers to task when necessary.

Many former offenders face multiple challenges such as drug abstinence, financial issues, or emotional issues with their family.

Under the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (Care) Network, SPS partners other government agencies, social service organisations, halfway houses, self-help groups, grassroots communities and religious organisations to support former offenders and their families in overcoming these challenges.

Care Network agencies like the Industrial and Services Cooperative Society, Singapore After-Care Association, and Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association also follow up with former offenders to support them in reintegration.

We will continue to offer the necessary assistance to former offenders on their reintegration journey.

Ravin Singh

Assistant Director (Media Relations)

Corporate Communications and Relations Division

Singapore Prison Service

Shazwani Babjee

Assistant Director, Partnership@YR

Yellow Ribbon Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2021, with the headline 'Sustained and stable employment critical for reintegration'. Subscribe