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Be A Guardian: Helping Young Offenders Embark on a New Chapter in Their Lives

How SPS Personal Supervisors play a vital role in rehabilitating young offenders.
PHOTO: Home Team News; GRAPHIC: Cheryl Soh

Be A Guardian showcases fulfilling career, scholarship and sponsorship opportunities in the Home Team.

It was my first visit to Tanah Merah Prison. Not only does it house the Prison School – where inmates get a chance to complete their education, regardless of age – it’s also where the Reformative Training Centre – for offenders 21 years and younger – is located. 

I was here to meet Sergeant (SGT) 3 Sandeep Amrick, a Personal Supervisor who’s committed to helping young offenders turn their lives around. From him, I learnt that the inmates would be sitting for their GCE “O” Levels that very morning.

As I exited the prison gates after our meeting, I witnessed a heart-warming scene: an ex-offender who’s just been released, and he was elated to be reunited with his family members. This helped me to understand why Prison officers like SGT3 Sandeep are committed to their work as Captains of Lives. 
What motivated you to join the Home Team?
I served with the Singapore Civil Defence Force during my National Service days, and that formed the foundation of my knowledge about the Home Team. And back in my Polytechnic days, a Singapore Prison Service (SPS) career ambassador had shared with me about aftercare for inmates. This sparked my interest in joining SPS and supporting the rehabilitative journey of ex-offenders.
How did your Home Team journey begin?
Prior to starting my training at the Prison School, I did an internship with Cluster C Programme, which oversees incare and Community Based Programmes at Tanah Merah Prison (currently known as Institution Tanah Merah 1 and 2). As an intern, I had the opportunity to speak about accommodations and living environment with the family members of inmates who were about to be released, so that these were conducive for their rehabilitation. The internship also deepened my knowledge about the various programmes offered to inmates to support their rehabilitation. 

Playing a part in helping inmates rewrite their lives. PHOTO: Home Team News

Can you walk us through a day of your work?
Every day is a new challenge for me. I work with Reformative Trainees aged 16 to 21 at the Reformative Training Centre (RTC), supervising and engaging them as they go through their daily activities and routine. 

During their period of admission to RTC, Trainees are given an iPlan handbook that allows them to map out the various areas of their lives that they can work on and change. These areas include their family, friends and well-being. The iPlan also contains reflective handouts and worksheets designed to guide Trainees towards thinking about the impact of their offending behaviours. Officers will check in with them every three months to review what they have written or thought about, and Personal Supervisors like me use the handbook to record our Trainees' progress during regular interviews.
PHOTOS: Home Team News

Share one memorable incident from your work as a Prison officer.
This year, I was selected to be a National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) trainer at the RTC, and I taught skills such as knot tying, first aid and other general skills. Several Trainees were also selected to be NYAA trainers to their peers. 

One Trainee under my charge led a class of fellow Trainees in knot tying. I supervised the class and it was really impressive to see him teaching his peers and helping them when they had difficulties. When this Trainee received his NYAA “Gold” award, I could sense his happiness as he went on stage and, at that moment, I felt very proud of him.

Captain Of Lives: SGT3 Sandeep is proud to have supervised an inmate who won the NYAA “Gold” Award. PHOTO: Home Team News

Share three qualities that contribute to being a successful Personal Supervisor. 
You need to have patience as working with young offenders comes with its own challenges. We must always be open to the types of problems they face, and must stay calm under pressure.

As a Captain of Lives, we also have to stay fit and maintain a high standard of discipline in order to serve as role models.

Finally, having strong teamwork with fellow Prison officers makes for a more positive and dynamic work environment. Our rapport helps us to get through challenging moments, as a team!

Be A Guardian of Our Home
A recipient of both the Home Team ITE Sponsorship and the Home Team Diploma Study Sponsorship, SGT3 Sandeep completed his Higher NITEC in Passenger Services at ITE College West and a Diploma in Supply Chain Management at Republic Polytechnic
PHOTO: Home Team News

Keen to become a Home Team Guardian? Visit the MHA Careers webpage to find out more about available Sponsorship and Scholarship opportunities. 
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Written by

Ashley Tuen


13 November 2019

Prisons Management and Rehabilitation
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