SINGAPORE- Having been imprisoned four times for a variety of offences, Mr Ahmad (not his real name) was always ill-disciplined at work after his release.
But in the past nine months since he was last freed from jail, he has been able to hold down a steady job in a cleaning company and was recently even promoted to a supervisor.
The ex-convict, 48, credits his transformation to the Work Release Scheme (WRS) he was placed on in May 2018.
He is among a growing number of prisoners on the Community-Based Programme (CBP), which includes the WRS.
There were 1,098 inmates who served the tail-end of their sentences on the CBP last year, an increase of 15.4 per cent from the year before. Under the programme, offenders regularly report back and are supervised by prison officers while in halfway houses, under home detention, or on the WRS.
For Mr Ahmad, this constant supervision has motivated him to be disciplined on the job.
In the past when he was released from prison, after serving time for offences such as manslaughter or for causing hurt, he had absolute "freedom" and would flit from job to job such as being a boat captain or a technician. He was also not committed to his job, and would feign an illness if he did not feel like working on any given day.
"With this programme I must control myself. I've got the RO (re-integration officer) and the Singapore After-Care Association taking care of me, so I must take care of my conduct. It helps me a lot," said Mr Ahmad.
Being within a structured environment with a curfew to adhere to, he has also learned to manage his time better and to differentiate between his needs and his wants, said Mr Ahmad.
"Up till now, I have maintained my (good behaviour). If I have any problems, I will talk to my RO and my job coach."