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Three Things You Should Know About the Enhanced Drug Rehabilitation Regime
The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament this week. Here are three things you should know about the enhanced drug rehabilitation regime.

The walls of the Drug Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) at the Singapore Prison Service’s (SPS) Institution B5 are painted in vibrant blue, green and yellow. 

These colours represent the different stages of an offender’s rehabilitation journey: blue for a new start, green as abusers undergo rehabilitation and yellow as they prepare for reintegration into society. 

Home Team News SPS DRC Collage
Inmates also wear T-shirts with colours that match their dayrooms to signify their respective rehabilitation phases. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

“Besides psychological-based intervention programmes that target drug use habits, at the DRC, we also provide family programmes as well as vocational and employability skills training to facilitate the re-entry of ex-offenders into society,” explained SPS Superintendent (SUPT) 1A Soh Yen Li.

The amendments proposed by the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2018 were passed in Parliament on 15 January 2019. Those who consume drugs and don't have any other criminal offences will soon undergo a revised rehabilitation regime. Here are three things you should know about it.

1. Our Rehabilitation Regime Has Been Strengthened

Currently, drug abusers arrested for the first and second time undergo rehabilitation at the DRC, while those arrested for the third time (and more) are subject to Long-Term Imprisonment. 

But under the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2018, the DRC regime will be extended to third-time (and above) abusers, if they haven’t committed other concurrent offences. 

SPS officers are ready for the changes to come. “We’re prepared for an increase in inmate numbers and to provide more intensive rehabilitation regimes,” said SUPT (1A) Soh. “We’ve made sure our officers are equipped with the right skills and are ready to offer rehabilitation support to abusers coming into our system.”

Home Team News SPS DRC 2
Ready for the new rehabilitation regime (from left): DSP (2) Chng Kuok Leong, SUPT (1A) Soh Yen Li and Lau Kuan Mei. PHOTO: Desmond Ang 

2. DRC Programmes Cater to an Abuser’s Specific Risks and Needs
Abusers serving their detention in the DRC are allocated to appropriate intervention programmes based on their specific risks and needs. “This ensures that our programmes address the specific rehabilitation needs of abusers during their time in DRC,” said SUPT (1A) Soh.

Intervention programmes range from psychological-based correctional programmes and family programmes to skills training that enhances their employability upon their release. “These programmes target their attitudes and mindsets towards drug use,” said Lau Kuan Mei, Assistant Director of Correctional Rehabilitation Services Branch at the DRC. 

Abusers deemed to be at a higher risk of reoffending will also undergo scenario-based simulations that focus on situations that may lead to drug use, equipping them with strategies to turn away from drugs. “We help them practice different scenarios so that they’re prepared to face similar situations after their release,” said Lau. “It’s about teaching them practical skills to manage relapses and build a drug-free lifestyle.”

Home Team News SPS DRC 1
Abusers in the aftercare phase will have the chance to transit to schemes with a lower level of supervision. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

3. Community-Based Programmes Help Ex-offenders Gradually Reintegrate into Society
Under the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2018, the maximum period of detention for drug abusers in the DRC will be extended from three years to four years. Inmates may also serve part of their detention within the community, under the Community-Based Programme (CBP) as a step-down process in their reintegration into society.

“DRC programmes equip abusers with basic knowledge about coping with relapse triggers and other issues,” said Deputy Superintendent of Prisons (DSP) 2 Chng Kuok Leong, a Manager with SPS’ Community Supervision & Rehabilitation Branch. “So once they step down to the aftercare phase of their sentence, they should be more aware of how they can cope.” 

During the aftercare phase, abusers can be emplaced under one of three schemes: Halfway House scheme, Day-release scheme (with a Community Supervision Centre) or Residential scheme. If they’ve made good progress in their rehabilitation, they’ll have the opportunity to transit to schemes with a lower level of supervision. 

“During their rehabilitation, abusers may encounter self-esteem issues, family problems or work challenges,” said DSP2 Chng. “Even as we support them through these issues, we also hope that they’re motivated to help themselves on their rehabilitation and reintegration journey.”

Blue for a new start, green as abusers undergo rehabilitation and yellow as they prepare for reintegration into society – under the new rehabilitation regime, these colours will take on fresh relevance for offenders determined to make a positive change in their lives. 
Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2018
The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament on 15 January 2018. The key provisions of the Bill will enhance our anti-drug framework and enforcement powers against drug-related activities; and strengthen our drug rehabilitation regime.

To learn more about the Bill, check out: 
  -  Second Reading Speech by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law
  -  Wrap-Up Speech by Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development
  -  Wrap-Up Speech by Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health
  -  Wrap-Up Speech by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.


  1. by Desmond Ang
  2. 17 January 2019
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