Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Safeguards to Prevent Assault Cases Involving Inmates from Escalating

Published: 03 November 2021


Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in view of the recent serious assault case involving inmates in the Changi Prison Complex, what are the additional safeguards that can be adopted in the future to prevent such similar situations from escalating, including leveraging on technology towards the “Prisons without Guards” concept.


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

1.   The case mentioned by the Member involved an inmate who was assaulted by two other inmates at the Changi Prison Complex. The victim was waiting in the medical centre for his medical review. He was suddenly assaulted by two other inmates who were in the same room. A prison officer who was in the monitoring room saw the assault and responded with two other officers within 20 seconds, and stopped the assault. The two inmates who had assaulted the victim have been charged in court. One has been sentenced, and the other is pending sentencing.

2.   The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) has measures in place to try to prevent assault incidents from occurring, and to respond swiftly when they do.

3.   First, Prison officers actively look out for signs of conflict between inmates. Inmates are also informed that they can approach staff if they encounter any issues or fear for their safety.

4.   Second, inmates who are assessed to be of higher risk of violence undergo programmes to address their violent behaviours.

5.   Third, SPS leverages technology to detect incidents and intervene swiftly. SPS is expanding its use of surveillance cameras to monitor all areas which inmates have access to. SPS is also using video analytics to detect abnormal or aggressive behaviours. When this capability is fully in place, officers can be alerted and respond to suspected fights, medical emergencies or suicidal behaviour, even quicker.

6.   SPS takes incidents of assault very seriously, and will continue to review and enhance its operational capabilities to deter inmates from committing assault, and to be able to swiftly detect and respond.