Ladies and Gentlemen
This 2nd joint Workplan Seminar of the Singapore Prisons Service and SCORE is an affirmation of the partnership between the two agencies. Both the Prisons Service and SCORE play integral roles in supporting Singapore's criminal justice system. Criminal justice is not just about arresting, prosecuting, convicting and putting offenders behind bars. Those who are imprisoned and capable of turning over a new leaf should be rehabilitated when they are in custody. The Prisons Service and SCORE can help them to re-integrate into mainstream society.
2. The Prisons Service and SCORE have made much progress over the past few years. While ensuring secure incarceration, rehabilitation has become an important function in inmate management. Many ex-offenders have since benefited from this new approach and have re-joined society.
Strategic Partnership - Inmate Rehabilitation
3. In its efforts to break the offending cycle, the Prisons Service and SCORE have been working closely to offer vocational training and work opportunities to prisons' inmates.
4. They will have the skills to increase their chances at employment after their release. The Prisons Service and SCORE have introduced Quality Circle Teams and Insourcing Projects to provide inmates with opportunities to manage the operations of the workshops. Besides equipping such inmates with work skills on production planning and quality control, these programmes help instil in them responsibility.
5. The results from pioneering programmes such as the Home Detention Scheme and the setting up of the Prison School have been encouraging.
6. Since its inception in 2000, about 2,000 inmates have attended Prison School and 94 per cent have attained academic qualifications during their imprisonment.
7. Of those on the Home Detention Scheme, over 99 percent have successfully completed the programme. Since May 2000, more than 3,000 inmates have been emplaced on the Home Detention Scheme, to facilitate their gradual re-integration in society.
8. Given the success of the Home Detention Scheme, we intend to expand the scheme by the end of this year to benefit a larger group of offenders. Strategic Partnership with our Community
9. Breaking the offending cycle will not be possible if the community does not support rehabilitation programmes. Both the Prisons Service and SCORE have been actively engaging the community in their rehabilitation and re-integration efforts. The Prisons Service has set up the Community Involvement Section and also developed a Community Involvement Framework. This new Framework comprises comprehensive strategies for the Prisons Service to engage and mobilise volunteers and organisations to deliver programmes for inmates, rebuild broken family bonds and to ensure that the inmates' aftercare needs are met.
10. SCORE has also been playing an important role by supporting the operations of CARE Network with a full-time Secretariat. The success of the screening of the community movie "Twilight Kitchen" has created greater awareness and empathy in society towards giving ex-offenders a second chance.
11. We thank the community for their support. The Prisons Service and SCORE should continue to leverage the community in their work.
12. The Prisons Service has been keeping up with developments overseas through international linkages and exchanges. Recently, the Prisons Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Correctional Services Department of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China to enhance the working relationship between Singapore Prisons Service and its Hong Kong counterparts, and to share knowledge, expertise and best practices in the area of corrections. To facilitate exchange of information and sharing of good practices, the Prisons Service will host this year's Asian and Pacific Conference of Correctional Administrators in October.
13. External recognition such as the Singapore Innovation Class award, which the Prisons Department has recently received, is encouraging. The officers of both the Prisons Service and SCORE should take heart from this and similar awards earlier to persevere and continue with their work as "Captains of Lives" and in your cause of "Building Bridges of Hope, Changing Lives".
14. I wish you a fruitful time in your reflections and discussions. It is my pleasure to declare the Prisons-SCORE Workplan Seminar open. Thank you.