Making the Singapore Prison Service a well-regarded correctional system: Desmond Chin

Mr Desmond Chin oversaw the creation of the agency's 2025 transformation plans, including its strategies of Prisons Without Guards. PHOTO: SINGAPORE PRISON SERVICE

MR DESMOND CHIN

Commissioner of Prisons

Public Administration Medal (Gold)


Mr Desmond Chin joined the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) in July 1990, and was appointed commissioner in October 2016. The 54-year-old has played an instrumental role in transforming the SPS into a well-regarded correctional system locally and internationally.

Two decades years ago, SPS was a traditional custodial agency faced with the challenges of severely overcrowded prisons, limited rehabilitation programmes, high staff attrition and poor public perception.

Today, it has a stellar safety and security record, and is one of the few correctional systems in the world that is under-crowded.

The agency continues to deliver effective evidence-based rehabilitation programmes, seen in its low recidivism rate over the past decade.

Mr Chin oversaw the creation of the agency's 2025 transformation plans, including its strategies of Prisons Without Guards, which leverages technology to automate mundane and routine tasks, and Prisons Without Walls, which sees more inmates supervised in the community to support their reintegration into society.

"This award is a testimony of the dedication and work of our Captains of Lives in the rehabilitation and reintegration of our offenders back into their communities and their families," said Mr Chin of his staff. "We will continue to transform lives for a safer Singapore."

A full list of this year's National Day Award recipients is available at the PMO website.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 09, 2020, with the headline Making the Singapore Prison Service a well-regarded correctional system: Desmond Chin. Subscribe