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MHA COS 2024: Transforming Corrections, Countering Drugs

Key takeaways from the COS Speech by Minister of State Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim on keeping Singapore drug-free and reducing long-term recidivism.
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GRAPHIC: Amber Qua

On 29 February, Minister of State Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim outlined the Home Team’s efforts in transforming our correctional rehabilitation initiatives and countering drugs abuse during the Committee of Supply (COS) Debate 2024.

Here are the key points from his speech.

Upcoming Rehabilitation and Reintegration Efforts – Corrections 2030
A key component of the Home Team’s strategy to ensuring safety and security is to minimise re-offending. The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) have been driving efforts to achieve this.

Building on existing efforts, SPS will embark on another major transformation initiative this year – Corrections 2030.

It is anchored on three key strategies.

1.  Strengthening Families of Inmates to Reduce Inter-Generational Offending
SPS applies restorative practices to help inmates understand the impact of their actions and how they can make amends. This has been one of the strategies used to curb violence amongst inmates. SPS will also use restorative practices to help inmates reflect on their role in their family and rebuild their relationship.

From April 2024, inmates and their families who require marriage support will be referred to Strengthening Families Programme@Family Service Centre (Fam@FSC) for counselling. This builds on SPS’ existing work with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and Family Service Centres to support inmates’ families.

2. Maximising Employability and Career Opportunities of Ex-Offenders

Gainful employment raises self-esteem and provides financial stability, thus reducing re-offending risks. 

In 2024, YRSG will expand YR Sandbox - an initiative to explore job opportunities for ex-offenders in emerging and fast-growing sectors, with opportunities for training in the community - to the hospitality and tourism sectors.

Under ‘Project Beyond Hiring’, YRSG equips workplace supervisors with skills to support and empower ex-offenders under their employment. This year, YRSG will expand this to more employers across industries such as logistics and hospitality. 

3. Mobilising Community Partners to Better Support Rehabilitation 
Volunteers and community partners who work with inmates, ex-offenders and their families have been receiving basic corrections-related training from SPS. SPS will make such training more effective through a revised Development Framework for Offender Rehabilitation Personnel. Under this framework, SPS will equip volunteers with specific competencies needed for their work, such as grief and trauma management.

To commemorate Yellow Ribbon Project’s 20th anniversary this year, community partners and ex-offenders are encouraged to advocate for second chances more actively. 

Role of Malay-Muslim Organisations (MMOs)
MMOs are integral to the ecosystem of support for Malay-Muslim (MM) inmates and ex-offenders. They are key partners in developing culturally nuanced rehabilitative programmes. 

The MMO Rehabilitation Network was formed to help MMOs better collaborate and leverage each other’s expertise. The Home Team will continue to strengthen the Network. 

MMOs have also been working with the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) in preventive drug education (PDE) efforts, such as the Dadah Itu Haram campaign. CNB will equip mosques with resources to organise their own drug-free initiatives and expand PDE further.

Taking Action Against Drug Abuse
1. Improving the drug rehabilitation and reintegration journey

a) Supporting Process During Incarceration
SPS will continue partnering community organisations to offer pro-social support to abusers in the Drug Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) before they are emplaced on community rehabilitation programmes. SPS will work with organisations like Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association, and religious organisations under the Desistor Network to invite desistors to share their experiences and motivate abusers through support groups. 
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Minister of State Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim at the Launch of the Desistor Network on 15 April 2023. PHOTO: Singapore Prison Service

Psychology-based correctional programmes based on desistance and addictions studies have been enhanced to help abusers in the DRC better recognise their drug triggers, strengthen their resolve to resist drugs and reflect on the harm that drugs have caused their loved ones.

b) Post Incarceration
To better curb long-term relapse, CNB will implement a new ‘Supervision 2.0’ regime that aims to better support supervisees’ reintegration journey through more efficient monitoring. 

A key move is CNB’s plans to generally replace urine testing with hair testing as the default drug detection method during supervision. CNB is piloting this and will study the results before full implementation.

Robust Enforcement Against Drugs
Amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act will be operationalised to enable CNB to enforce more quickly against New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), which is a growing threat. The Home Team Science and Technology Agency is developing novel NPS testing capablities to enable this.

The Home Team will also continue collaborations with other countries to curb drug supply into Singapore.
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Drugs seized at a raid by CNB officers. PHOTO: CNB


MHA Committee of Supply (COS) Debate 2024
Read the speech delivered by Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim. For more info on MHA COS 2024, visit the MHA COS 2024 webpage.

Written by

Muhammad Aqasha


29 February 2024

Corrections & Rehabilitation
Drug Abuse
Keeping Singapore Drug Free
Managing Reintegration & Aftercare
Prisons & Rehabilitation
Preventive Drug Education
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