Press Releases

Key Leadership Changes in the Singapore Prison Service

Published: 15 June 2020

1. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will be making key leadership changes in the Singapore Prison Service (SPS).


2. Mr Desmond Chin, 55, Commissioner of Prisons, will retire on 28 September 2020.He joined SPS in 1990 and started his career as a prison officer at the then-Jalan Awan Drug Rehabilitation Centre. He helmed various key appointments during his service, including as the Chief Executive of the then-Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE, now known as Yellow Ribbon Singapore). Mr Chin was appointed Commissioner of Prisons on 1 October 2016.


3. Under Mr Chin’s leadership, SPS made significant strides in growing its correctional science knowledge, built up its research capabilities and rehabilitation expertise, and implemented programmes that made impactful changes in the lives of offenders. Specifically, Mr Chin led transformational change in SPS by implementing technological initiatives that streamlined work processes and this has freed up officers to take on higher value rehabilitative work. During his time as Commissioner, Singapore’s recidivism rates continued their downward trend. He expanded the placement of suitable inmates on community-based programmes to help ease their transition and reintegration back to society. Mr Chin also strengthened collaboration with community partners and prison volunteers in the delivery of rehabilitation services for inmates, ex-offenders and their families. The number of Yellow Ribbon Community Project volunteers has increased from fewer than 100 in 2010 when it first started, to more than 1,200 today.


4. SPS attained the Singapore Quality Award (Special Commendation) in 2019 in recognition of its operational and people excellence. On the international front, SPS is recognised by the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) as a key thought-leader on correctional matters. Mr Chin has served on the ICPA Board since October 2017.


5. Ms Shie Yong Lee, 48, who is currently the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons (Policy and Transformation), will be appointed Commissioner of Prisons (Designate) on 17 July 2020, and Commissioner of Prisons on 28 September 2020. In her 25 years of service with SPS, Ms Shie has held various key appointments, such as the Chief of Staff, and Commander of Cluster B, Changi Prison Complex. Ms Shie will continue the transformation of the correctional landscape through the innovative use of technology, as well as through partnership with the community and public agencies. This will contribute to better rehabilitation outcomes for offenders, and ultimately, a safer Singapore.


6. Mr Daniel Tan, 48, who is currently the Director (Planning and Organisation) at the Singapore Police Force, will be appointed as Deputy Commissioner of Prisons (Policy and Transformation) on 17 July 2020.


7. Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, said, “On behalf of the Home Team, and Desmond’s many colleagues and friends here, I would like to give our deepest thanks to Desmond for his many years of sterling service in the Ministry, his leadership of SPS and prior to that SCORE (now Yellow Ribbon Singapore), and his friendship.We wish him the very best in his future endeavours, and as he pursues new interests. I would also like to congratulate Yong Lee on her appointment, and am confident that she will take SPS to new heights.”


Prisons Management and Rehabilitation