Published: 08 March 2022
Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: I thank MOS for the clarification. For full disclosure, I am on the board of Yellow Ribbon Singapore. I think in September last year, I asked a PQ on the rehabilitation challenges faced by elderly inmates, and also in the recent cuts, I asked on rehabiliation efforts. MOS mentioned about various rehabiliation programmes such as release prep, religious, work and family programmes. Just wondering, how many inmates, in terms of percentage, actually attended these programmes in the last year, 2021? For those who didnt attend, what are the reasons for them not attending? And if so, what are the steps that SPS and the Ministry will be doing to enhance the attendance of such programmes?
Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development:
1. Sir, I thank the Member for the supplementary question. As I shared earlier, SPS assesses inmates for programmes based on various factors such as their risk of reoffending, rehabilitation needs, and the remaining length of sentence, and also looking at their responsivity with regards to the programmes available.
2. We assessed that psychology-based correctional programmes and family programmes would be suitable for about half of the 2021 admissions into prison. However, about five per cent may eventually not attend the programmes due to motivation or mental health issues. For some, they also fall sick. About 40 per cent of the inmate population as at end-2021, attended skills training. About 30 per cent of the inmate population as at end-2021, attended work programmes. For other programmes, such as educational and religious programmes, the participation ranges from about five per cent to 60 per cent, as it depends on inmates’ own needs and preferences.
3. All inmates, even those who decide not to attend the programmes, can access, using tablet computers, rehabilitation materials like e-versions of psychology-based correctional programmes, motivational talks and various guides on regulating emotions and communication skills.
4. At the halfway houses, all supervisees would have to go through a programme to reinforce the skills and concepts learnt in prison, like what I shared in my answer earlier.
5. As I also said earlier, while SPS provides various programmes to help inmates, there are also other factors that will help them in the successful rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders, such as having stable employment and positive, pro-social networks. It would also depend a great deal on the individual’s personal motivation and desire to change. In fact, that is always the message. Whenever I visit prison to meet the inmates, I will always remind them, “While we will do our best to help you to rehabilitate as part of your rehabilitation and reintegration journey at the end of the day, a large part of it depends on you.” And many of them agree, and we will continue to support them so that they are able to reintegrate back to the society in a better and stronger way.