Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Divorce Rates Among Inmates and Ex-offenders

Published: 01 March 2022


Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim:
To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether the Ministry tracks (i) data on the divorce rates amongst inmates and ex-offenders and (ii) correlation of such divorce rates with the overall recidivism rate; and (b) what are the efforts to connect inmates and ex-offenders with the resources and assistance in the marriage counselling and social services sector.


Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:

1.   The Ministry does not track the divorce rates of inmates and ex-offenders. We also do not have data on whether there is any correlation of divorce rates with recidivism.

2.   We do know generally, however, that marital relationships may be strained due to the incarceration of a spouse, and this may increase the risk of recidivism. The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) therefore collaborates with community partners and Government agencies to identify and assist inmates who may require support in their marital relationship.

3.   SPS engages social service agencies to deliver family programmes to help inmates to maintain their relationships with their family members, including their spouse. For example, under the Family Reintegration Programme, there is a structured session where the inmates and their spouse or family members come together to apply what they have learnt. This helps to mend or strengthen the relationships. Through this programme, the spouses also learn how to better support their loved ones in their rehabilitation.

4.   SPS also collaborates with community partners like The Salvation Army and Centre for Fathering to run group family and marital therapy programmes, support groups, as well as video conferencing for inmates and their family.

5.   During prison officers’ regular engagements with inmates, the inmates may surface the challenges they face, such as marital issues, to the officers. Where required, a referral will be made to the SPS’s Family Resource Centres (FRCs) for further assessment. If an inmate’s spouse is assessed to require marital counselling, a referral can be made to Strengthening Families Programme@Family Service Centres (FAM@FSCs) agencies funded by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). If additional support is needed to address their social and emotional needs, Family Service Centres (FSCs) could come in to provide case management and coordinate support from other agencies. These centres are able to provide support and assistance to the inmate and the family even after the inmate’s release.