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Be A Guardian: A Calling to Serve

For DSP 2 Clifford Lin of the SPS, the most challenging assignments can also be the most meaningful.
Be A Guardian spotlights exciting career, scholarship and sponsorship opportunities in the Home Team.

As a child, Deputy Superintendent (DSP) 2 Clifford Lin of the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) looked up to his father, a Police officer who was a major influence on him choosing a uniformed career with the Home Team. Having completed a range of appointments, DSP 2 Clifford explains why the most challenging assignment of his career also proved to be the most rewarding. 


Why did you choose to join the Home Team? 
I was interested in a career with the Home Team due to the influence of my father, who was a Police officer. My ambition was to follow in his footsteps and contribute to keeping Singapore safe by joining the Singapore Police Force.

However, when I was in Junior College, the Yellow Ribbon Project was launched, and it made me aware of the issues faced by inmates and their family members. That got me interested in finding out more about the work done by the SPS. I felt that being a Prison Officer would give me the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of inmates and their family members, while also contributing to Singapore’s safety and security. So here I am today!

Tell us about your journey as a Prison Officer. 
Wanting to change lives was what drove me to join the SPS, and my very first posting to Institution A4 as a Housing Unit Officer allowed me to be on the frontlines – directly making an impact on the inmates entrusted to my colleagues and I.

Thereafter, I had opportunities to work in the Rehabilitation & Reintegration Division where I was involved in planning, implementing and reviewing rehabilitation programmes. Subsequently, I assumed the role of Officer-in-Charge, Reformative Training Centre, where I led a team of officers in overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Centre. 

I have fond memories of every position I’ve held, and I learned a lot from each of them. However, if I had to choose a favourite, it would be my first posting as a Housing Unit Officer where I spent a significant amount of time at work engaging the inmates. Through these interactions, I had the opportunity to become a positive influence on them, and guide them to becoming better persons.

DSP 2 Clifford at Institution A5. PHOTO: SPS

Tell us something interesting about your current role.
As Deputy Superintendent, I support the Superintendent in the overall management of the prison. This includes taking care of the development of my fellow officers, ensuring the smooth day-to-day operations of the institution, and overseeing the rehabilitation of the inmates under our charge.

Most people don’t know that there’s a Laundry Plant located within Institution A5. As such, besides having to be familiar with prison operations, I also have to understand how a commercial laundry facility functions!

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career as a Prison Officer? 
My most challenging assignment was my previous posting as Officer-in-Charge, Reformative Training Centre. During my stint there, my colleagues and I had to plan for and implement several key developments – including the introduction of the revised Reformative Training regime, the training of staff to take on additional roles under the revised regime, and the move of the Reformative Training Centre to its new location at Tanah Merah Prison. These had to be done in addition to our core duty of running the Reformative Training Centre.

Reformative trainees can be a challenging group to work with as their young age may lead them to impulsive behaviour, and make them more susceptible to negative peer influences. However, this also makes our work particularly meaningful and rewarding, as each and every one of them has the potential to become successful, contributing members of society, if they can turn their lives around. 

My colleagues and I have chanced upon many of them after release. Knowing that they’re doing well back in society encourages us to continue working hard for those who are still under our charge.

DSP 2 Clifford's duties include ensuring the smooth day-to-day operations of Institution A5 and overseeing the rehabilitation of the inmates under his charge. PHOTO: SPS

What advice do you have for those who, like you, have a passion for the Home Team? 
Our work can be tough, the hours long. But if you’re looking for an exciting job where no two days are the same, a meaningful profession which allows you to help others and make a positive difference in the world, and a challenging career which develops you both personally and professionally, I urge you to join me in the blue uniform of the Home Team!

Be A Guardian
Turning the spotlight on exciting career, scholarship and sponsorship opportunities in the Home Team: 
Be A Guardian: Serving with Heart (SPF)
Be A Guardian: A Calling to Serve (SPS) 
Be A Guardian: In the Heart of the Action (SCDF)
Be A Guardian: An Eye for Investigations (CNB)
Be A Guardian: One Job, Many Facets (CNB)
Be A Guardian: Making an Impact Where It Counts (SPF)
Be A Guardian: Pushing Herself to Her Limit (SPF)
Be A Guardian: Having a Heart for Those in Need (SCDF)
Be A Guardian: Guiding Inmates onto the Right Path (SPS)
Be A Guardian: Ever Vigilant (ICA)
Be A Guardian: Turning Helplessness to Hope (SPF)
Be A Guardian: Engineering a Fresh Start (MHA)
Be A Guardian: One with the Community (SPF)
Be A Guardian: Empowering Inmates on Their Rehabilitation Journey (SPS)

A Career in the Home Team
If you’re keen to learn more about becoming a Home Team Guardian, visit the MHA website.

Written by

Mike Tan


30 November 2018

Prisons Management and Rehabilitation
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