Published: 08 March 2022
Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether prison and drug rehabilitation centre inmates are prohibited from exercising in their cells; (b) if so, what is the Singapore Prison Service's (SPS) rationale for the rule; and (c) whether the SPS will consider allowing inmates to do prescribed workouts in their cells given the significant psychological and health benefits of exercise.
Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development:
1. Inmates in the prison or drug rehabilitation centre generally have at least an hour of recreational time per day on weekdays. They can use this recreational time for physical exercise and ball games in the recreational yard, or other activities such as watching television and playing board games.
2. In the cells, inmates are allowed to do stretching exercises, but not vigorous exercise, and that is not allowed for the following reasons:
3. First, to prevent tension and conflict among cellmates. The majority of prison cells are designed to house up to 4 or 8 inmates each and there is insufficient space for inmates to carry out vigorous exercise without affecting the safety of cellmates, inconveniencing them, or intruding into their personal space. Doing so could lead to conflict among the cellmates. To ensure equal treatment, we do not allow vigorous in-cell exercise even if the cell is occupied by only one inmate.
4. Second, to maintain good order and discipline in prison. Some inmates may claim to be exercising in their cell when shadow-boxing or sparring, or giving tips and teaching others how to fight and attack opponents. This would pose challenges to maintaining good order and discipline in prison.