Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the Five-Year Recidivism Rate for Each of the Years from 2011 to 2015, by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 02 August 2021


Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) for each of the years from 2011 to 2015, what is the five-year recidivism rate; (b) whether the Singapore Prison Service can publish the five-year recidivism rate alongside the two-year recidivism rate in its annual report; and (c) what is the proportion of current inmates in Changi Prison who have been imprisoned before.


1.   The five-year recidivism rate for the 2011 to 2015 release cohorts are 43.1%, 43.2%, 41%, 41.3% and 41.7% respectively.      

2.   About four-fifths of the inmate population have been incarcerated before. The majority of these inmates are repeat drug offenders.

3.   The Singapore Prison Service, or SPS, currently publishes two-year recidivism rates in its annual statistics release, as this is aligned with common international practice, which also allows for meaningful comparison across jurisdictions. The two-year recidivism rate has remained low and stable, with the overall recidivism rate for the 2018 release cohort being 22.1%. Singapore’s two-year recidivism rate is amongst the lowest internationally.

4.   While SPS does not include the five-year recidivism rate in its annual statistics release, we have released it on occasions. For instance, it was recently mentioned by 2nd Minister for Home Affairs, Mrs Josephine Teo, during her opening speech at the CARE Network Summit on 13 July. This has been helpful in raising awareness and rallying the community to support ex-offenders in their rehabilitation and reintegration journey.

5.   MHA regularly reviews the statistics that we make public. As part of these reviews, we are considering including the five-year recidivism rate alongside the two-year rate in the annual statistics release.