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Recognising Excellence (Part 1)

Two recipients of the Minister’s Awards share how they achieved outstanding outcomes in supporting inmates’ lives.
Recognising Excellence Part 1 01

Nuristianah Binte Amran
Associate, Partnership@YR, Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG); Recipient of the Home Team Achievement Award

Launching the first sector collaboration under the Train and Place (TAP) & Grow initiative required Nuristianah to engage the media industry and Singapore Prison Service (SPS) extensively.

Recognising Excellence Part 1 02
Nuristianah received the Home Team Achievement Award for the TAP & Grow initiative with the media sector. PHOTO: Arvind Chan

The TAP & Grow initiative involves establishing training academies inside prison for inmates to develop requisite skills to secure jobs in relevant industries. What prompted YRSG to work with MediaCorp to launch the media sector TAP & Grow?
MediaCorp is a stronghold in the media industry in Singapore. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Singapore Media Academy (SMA), is the sole Continuing Education and Training Centre for the media industry in Singapore. It offers courses to develop talent for the media industry and upskill media professionals in Singapore. This is in line with YRSG’s focus of promoting lifelong learning and skills deepening for inmates and ex-offenders. 

What was your role in establishing the media sector TAP & Grow?
Leading up to the formalisation of the MOU and Collaboration Agreement, I was the key liaison for the collaboration between YRSG, MediaCorp and SMA. I facilitated discussions on the scope, key terms and intended outcomes of the collaboration. Also, I took charge of the planning of the virtual MOU signing ceremony. 

Together with my colleagues from Skills@YR and SPS, the media training academy was set up inside prison to conduct two diploma courses. I then planned and managed the inaugural graduation ceremony for the first batch of inmate graduates.
 Recognising Excellence Part 1 03
The revamped Multimedia Hub in Tanah Merah Institution 1 has a greenscreen, equipment for recording and common workspaces. PHOTOS: YRSG

What challenges did you face in the MOU formalisation, and showcasing and matching inmates with prospective employers?
This was the first sector collaboration under the TAP & Grow initiative, so we did not have previous reference points and had to learn as we go. The Multimedia Hub in Tanah Merah Institution 1 had to be revamped to ensure that it would be suitable as a training academy to run media courses. SMA provided us guidance and support throughout the process.

As media was a new sector that we worked with, we had to build up our network of employers to ensure that we had a steady pool of jobs for releasing graduates. We organised an engagement session with media production houses and employers and constantly sourced for employers to partner YRSG and offer media-related employment.

Portfolios are a critical component in the hiring process for most jobs in the media sector. Prospective employers use the portfolios to assess prospective employees’ skills level and job fit even before the interviews are conducted. To enable the inmates’ job applications, we worked with SPS to come up with a new process that allows prospective employers access to graduates’ works prior to their release.

How do you feel receiving the Home Team Achievement Award?
The TAP & Grow initiative is a collaborative effort among many industry partners. It is an honour to receive this award as it shows that our efforts have been recognised. Also, it is heartening to know that our partners in this initiative are also given due recognition as they play an integral role in its success. – By Arvind Chan.

Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Tan Yee Boon, Jayrius
Senior Officer (Trans-Tech Development), Transformation & Technology Division, Singapore Prison Service (SPS); Recipient of the Minister for Home Affairs Operational Excellence (OE) Awards

ASP Jayrius is an essential member of the team that operationalised the AVATAR system, which leverages video analytics to alert prison officers of abnormal or aggressive behaviour in prison institutions.

Recognising Excellence Part 1 04
ASP Jayrius. PHOTO: Benedict Kok

How has the AVATAR system helped in SPS’ operations?
AVATAR is a new video analytics capability that aids prison officers in real-time detection of abnormal behaviour in inmates’ cells without the need for continuous human monitoring of CCTV footage. The analytics system sends an alert to officers in the Correctional Unit Control Centre when it picks up aggressive and self-harm related motion. Together with the regular patrols by officers, this allows for quicker response by the officers on duty.

AVATAR is one of the key technological initiatives in the “Prison Without Guards” operational concept introduced by SPS. Under this new concept, SPS leverages technology to enhance operational effectiveness and automate routine work processes in prison institutions. 

What work went into ensuring the smooth implementation?
As part of the project management team, I liaised with my counterparts from the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) and our users. My team and I spent a few months at the Selarang Park Complex to observe the work processes of the staff and the inmates’ behaviours to help continuously refine the algorithm. Also, I used my past operations experience to anticipate problems, fine-tune requirements and ensure the smooth implementation of the project. 

Recognising Excellence Part 1 05
With the automated alerts provided by AVATAR, prison officers no longer have to browse through all CCTV footage from inmates’ cells to pick up aggressive and self-harm related incidents. PHOTO: SPS

What do you enjoy about your job?
Being in the Transformation & Technology Division allows me to work independently while having experienced teammates to consult whenever I need help. It feels good to be able to see through a project from start to end, as I am actively involved with the ideation, requirements gathering, all the way to the implementation and commissioning stages, as well as offering post-commissioning support. I look forward to exploring newer technologies as we support SPS’ transformation efforts. – By Benedict Kok.

Minister’s Awards Presentation Ceremony 2022
The Minister’s Awards Presentation Ceremony 2022 was held on 17 January 2023 to recognise outstanding officers, teams and agencies that had demonstrated efficiency and competency in major operations, cases and projects, or displayed high standards of innovation and service excellence in the course of their work.

Two hundred and two awards were presented in the following categories: Minister for Home Affairs Home Team Achievement Award, Minister for Home Affairs Operational Excellence Award, Star Service Award and Home Team Innovation Award.

Read the speech by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, at the Minister's Awards Presentation Ceremony.

Written by

Arvind Chan and Benedict Kok


14 April 2023

Science and Technology
Prisons Management and Rehabilitation
Managing Reintegration & Aftercare
Managing Prisons & Rehabilitation
Transforming the Home Team
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