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This is Why We Serve: A Ripple Effect for Good

Meet CW2 Helen Lim, a Prison officer who goes the extra mile to support ex-offenders.
An open heart, listening ear and friendly disposition – these qualities have allowed Chief Warder (CW) 2 Helen Lim of the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) to touch the lives of many. 

Known as an attentive and supportive Prison officer by those who’ve worked with her over the years, it came as no surprise that CW2 Helen received the Exemplary Service Excellence Award at this year’s Public Sector Transformation Awards Ceremony. 

Meet CW2 Helen Lim, a Prison officer with a heart for ex-offenders. PHOTO: SPS

CW2 Helen first joined SPS 30 years ago because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. “I felt a personal calling to keep Singapore safe by deterring offenders from causing harm,” she shared. “I hope to change their mental model and help them understand that criminal behaviour isn’t tolerated in our society.”

The Extra Mile
As a Reintegration Officer with SPS’ Community Corrections Command, CW2 Helen conducts home visits and engagement sessions with supervisees as they reintegrate back into society. Guided by a deep sense of duty, she never fails to go the extra mile. 

CW2 Helen recalled how an ex-offender contacted SPS in 2017 to ask for her. Feeling helpless, he’d turned to her as she’d been the first Prison officer to counsel him when he was serving his sentence.

Over her 30-year career with SPS, CW2 Helen has served in various capacities to support the rehabilitation of ex-offenders. PHOTO: SPS

The ex-offender shared that he was feeling depressed due to challenges at home and work. CW2 Helen managed to calm him down and, over a number of counselling and family intervention sessions, gave him guidance and advice. The ex-offender was able to rebuild his ties with his family and is now working as an event manager.

Asked what drives her to go the extra mile, CW2 Helen had this to share: “Over the years, I’ve attended many pre-release graduation ceremonies for inmates. Such moments assure me that what I’m doing is right, and encourage me to help even more inmates.”


A Ripple Effect
According to CW2 Helen, it’s vital that ex-offenders take ownership of their rehabilitation. “As Captains of Lives, our main challenge is to inspire offenders to change,” she explained. “But if they aren’t motivated to do so, our rehabilitation programmes won’t be as effective.” 

A firm believer in aftercare support and the good in people, CW2 Helen is determined to be a catalyst for rehabilitation. “I believe that ex-offenders can change,” she said with a smile. “And this will have a ripple effect – on individuals, families, communities and society at large.”


Public Sector Transformation (PST) Awards 
The PST Awards recognise public officers and agencies for excellence in their work and organisational practices. This year's Award Reception was held on 19 July and saw 80 awards in 13 categories presented to recognise best practices and desired behaviours and values in the Singapore Public Service. Congratulations to our seven Home Team award recipients!

- One Public Service Award: Immigration & Checkpoints AuthorityMinistry of Social and Family DevelopmentPublic Service DivisionEarly Childhood Development AgencyGovTechHealth Promotion Board and the Smart National and Digital Government Office, for the Moments of Life app
- Exemplary Leader Award: Goh Eng Joo, MHA
- Exemplary SkillsFuture @ Public Service Award: LTA Yeo Ren Jie, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
- Exemplary SkillsFuture @ Public Service Award: Aileen Yap, Singapore Police Force (SPF)
- Exemplary Innovator Award: Heavy Fire Vessel, SCDF
- Exemplary Service Excellence Award: CW2 Helen Lim, SPS
- Exemplary Service Excellence Award: Staff Sergeant Mohamad Farhan Bin Mohamad Suhaili, SPF

Written by

Jermaine Ting


25 July 2019

Prisons Management and Rehabilitation
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