Ex-offenders to receive longer job support from Score

Ms Ong Pau Hsing Juliana, Director of Human Resource, Mr Shaharuddin Mokhtar, Mr Desmond Koh and Mr Jamil Khan, Vice President of Operations, at the Score Appreciation Awards 2016.
Ms Ong Pau Hsing Juliana, Director of Human Resource, Mr Shaharuddin Mokhtar, Mr Desmond Koh and Mr Jamil Khan, Vice President of Operations, at the Score Appreciation Awards 2016.PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Ex-offenders will soon receive more support to help them reintegrate into the workforce, thanks to a move to extend a service that checks in on their progress for over a period of one year instead of six months now.

Besides providing ex-offenders with skills training and job placement, the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (Score) helps ex-offenders stay employed.

Under Score's job retention support services, its officers meet with ex-offenders at least once a month after they are released to check on their progress and counsel them on problems they may face at work.

Score's officers will check in on ex-offenders for six months but with the extension, they will do so over one year.

"The longer they stay in a job, the lower the chances of them turning back to crime," said Score reintegration director Ms Juliana Abdul Khalik, adding that about 65 per cent of ex-offenders stay employed for at least six months after they are released.

The extension of the job retention support is expected to start from later this year, and Score also aims to take a "differentiated approach" to help ex-offenders find jobs more suited to their personalities and skills.

This was announced on Wednesday (July 20) during an appreciation awards ceremony marking Score's 40th anniversary, in which 94 organisations and individuals were recognised for their efforts in reintegrating ex-offenders.

In his speech Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, who attended the event, said that it was important that ex-offenders regularly upgrade themselves even after landing a job.

"It is no longer about equipping ex-offenders with a certain skillset. It is about helping them acquire new skillsets and continually acquire fresh capabilities,"said Mr Chan, who is also Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress.

Mr Shaharuddin Mokhtar, who spent 24 years in and out of prison for various drug-related charges and other offences, said that having a positive mindset was important for ex-offenders.

"The second chances are there if we want to take them," said Mr Shahruddin, 47, who now works as a cook with the Royal Plaza on Scotts hotel.