On Assignment
Choose Love, Not Heroin
For 28 years, he injected heroin into his body. Now, after completing his longest prison sentence, he’s working to rebuild his relationship with his wife and son, with the help of strategies learnt at Selarang Halfway House.

Forty-two-year-old Danial (not his real name) had been abusing heroin since he was 14. During his most recent drug offence in 2014, he received his longest sentence of five years and six months.

Home Team News SPS Selarang Halfway House 01
GRAPHIC: Natasha Razak

His crimes have taken a toll on his family. Eight years ago, while serving his second sentence for drug abuse, Danial missed the birth of his only son. “I didn’t get to see him much when he was young, and now it’s time for me to stop abusing drugs, and to bond with him,” he said with regret. 

Danial spent six weeks in the interim Selarang Halfway House facility before he was released last July. While in Selarang Halfway House, he sought permission to extend his curfew hours so that he could watch football with his son. “That’s the only way I could spend time with him,” he explained. 

The First Government-run Halfway House
Selarang Halfway House is the first Government-run facility to provide structured aftercare support for selected higher-risk ex-offenders in the Mandatory Aftercare Scheme (MAS). The Scheme provides enhanced community support, counselling and case management to support the reintegration of ex-offenders. 

Selarang Halfway House can accommodate over 570 residents within its four residential blocks, and currently houses 128 male residents and 10 female residents. “Many challenges and uncertainties await ex-offenders upon their release,” said Mr Elijah Teo, Deputy Executive Director of Selarang Halfway House. “By providing a conducive and rehabilitative environment, Selarang Halfway House, in close partnership with the Singapore Prison Service, works with residents to address their reintegration needs and facilitate their journey to stay crime-free.” 

Home Team News SPS Selarang Halfway House 02
GRAPHIC: Natasha Razak
 
A Change from Within
During his time in Selarang Halfway House, Danial held two jobs, working as a technician with the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises and holding a part-time position at a fast food restaurant. 

He also learnt how to curb the temptation to abuse drugs. “Whenever I'm tempted to take drugs, I’ll call my wife and ask her to accompany me. She's my main motivation to become a better person," Danial shared while holding back his tears. "During my second prison term, she said she’d stop visiting me and sending me letters. Later, I found out that she’d fallen into a depression.”

Danial is now on the Home Supervision phase of the MAS and is slated to remain under supervision until 2020. He remains in constant contact with his prison counsellor, especially for advice whenever the temptation kicks in. “I also want to stop taking drugs so that I can spend more time with my son,” he said. “I have to stand firm.”

Supporting the Rehabilitation of Ex-offenders
Selarang Halfway House is part of a larger integrated development, the Selarang Park Complex, that is slated to be ready by 2020. The Complex will include a Drug Rehabilitation Centre, Work Release Centre and Community Supervision Centre for suitable offenders emplaced on Community-based Programmes. On 11 January 2019, Minister K Shanmugam visited Selarang Halfway House to learn about its efforts in rehabilitation. Read his speech from the visit here.

To learn more about the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2018, which was passed in Parliament this week, read the Second Reading Speech and Wrap-up Speech.
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.


  1. by Natasha Razak
  2. 16 January 2019
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