Published: 14 October 2020
Mr. Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) in each of the past three years, what is the average percentage of ex-offenders who find employment within a three-month period after serving their sentences; (b) what steps have been identified to improve the ex-offenders' employability in the current circumstances when Singapore's economy is affected by COVID-19.
1. The ability to secure employment is very important for an ex-offender’s rehabilitation and reintegration. The percentage of ex-offenders who found employment within three months of release was 55%, 56% and 53% for the cohorts released in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. These figures are lower-bound estimates as our data does not include ex-offenders who took on non-CPF contributing jobs such as delivery riders and private hire car drivers.
2. To enhance ex-offenders’ employability, Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) provides inmates and ex-offenders with skills upgrading, job matching and job coaching services.
3. The economic downturn brought about by COVID-19 has made the job market more challenging for ex-offenders. YRSG has stepped up efforts to help them secure employment. For example, YRSG has tapped on WSG’s SGUnited Job Portal and NTUC’s Job Security Council initiatives to target industry sectors with available jobs, such as in the logistics and manufacturing sectors, while stepping up engagements with existing employers. Through these efforts, ex-offenders have successfully secured jobs such as technicians, drivers, warehouse assistants and production operators. YRSG has also implemented virtual job interviews to ensure that ex-offenders and potential employers can continue to interact. From January to August 2020, YRSG secured employment for 1,534 ex-offenders, with the majority of them remaining employed during this period.