Published: 04 October 2021
Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what measures are in place to assist ex-convicts and prisoners due to be released to open bank accounts so that they can receive wages or financial assistance where applicable.
1. Since 2015, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) has been collaborating with POSB to assist ex-offenders to open and maintain a bank account upon their release. They are given a discharge letter issued by SPS, which lists selected POSB branches that they can visit to open a bank account. Under this collaboration, the service charge that would usually be incurred for not meeting the minimum account balance will be waived for up to a year. The account holder simply needs to present the discharge letter, and an employment referral letter from Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) or a letter of employment.
2. To ensure that ex-offenders without a bank account are still able to receive their wages, YRSG works with employers to make alternative arrangements, such as issuing salaries in cash cheques in the first month of employment, so as to give the ex-offenders more time to open a bank account.
3. Ex-offenders who have just been released can seek interim financial assistance at SPS’s Family Resource Centres (FRCs), located at the Prison Link Centre in Changi. To facilitate the receipt of financial assistance by ex-offenders who do not have a bank account, the FRCs disburse cash, vouchers or EZ Link cards to them, as necessary. The FRCs will refer the ex-offenders to Social Service Offices (SSOs) for further financial assistance if required. As part of the process, the SSOs will guide ex-offenders in creating a bank account to facilitate their receipt of financial assistance.