Published: 08 March 2022
Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) in 2021, what has been the average frequency of the different rehabilitation programme interventions provided in (i) prisons (ii) drug rehabilitation centres and (iii) halfway houses; (b) what are the minimum qualifications and training which prison counsellors must have; and (c) what criteria are used to assess the effectiveness of these programmes.
Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development:
1. The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) adopts an evidence-based approach in the rehabilitation of inmates. Factors such as the inmates’ risk of re-offending, rehabilitation needs, conduct in prison and remaining sentence length are taken into consideration in the allocation of intervention programmes.
2. In prison and drug rehabilitation centres, inmates undergo psychology-based correctional programmes to change their negative thinking and behaviours, and improve their pro-social skills, to minimise their risk of re-offending. Inmates may also undergo other types of programmes such as family programmes to help them build stronger bonds, employability and skills training, work programmes, education, release preparation programmes, and religious programmes. The frequency of these programmes varies. For example, the psychology-based correctional programmes consist of individual and group-based sessions, and take place one to three times a week, with varying intensity from a few weeks to a few months depending on the inmates’ needs and risk. Religious programmes happen on a weekly basis, while pre-release programmes take place towards the tail-end of an inmate’s sentence.
3. The SPS also partners with halfway houses to provide community-based programmes to inmates. At these halfway houses, supervisees undergo a programme to reinforce the skills and concepts learnt in prison to cope with challenges in the community. This programme comprises eleven sessions, usually conducted within four months.
4. Depending on the programmes that they conduct, SPS staff and partners have a wide range of qualifications. They are selected and recruited on the basis that they have the relevant competency and skillsets to deliver the programmes.
5. SPS evaluates the effectiveness of its rehabilitation programmes. For example, SPS had conducted an evaluation of its high-intensity psychology-based correctional programmes, which included taking pre and post programme measures. Findings showed that inmates who had completed the programmes showed reduced negative thinking patterns, and were more confident to stay away from drugs and crime. Inmate feedback on the usefulness of the programmes is also collected.
6. SPS provides different programmes in prison to help inmates in their rehabilitation and prepare them for reintegration into the society. Ultimately, there are other factors such as having stable employment and positive pro-social networks that will help in the successful reintegration of ex-offenders in the longer term. It would also depend very much on the individual’s personal motivation and desire to change.