Published: 06 September 2022
Dr Wan Rizal, Adviser to Jalan Besar GRC;
Ms Hazlina Abdul Halim, President PPIS;
Ms Tuminah Sapawi, Chief Executive Officer PPIS;
Ms Shie Yong Lee, Commissioner, Singapore Prison Service;
Ladies & Gentlemen; as well as
1. A very good afternoon to all.
2. It is my privilege and honour to be able to join you to tour the newly renovated Rise Above Halfway House today.
3. As shared by Ms Hazlina earlier, I was here in December last year. before renovations started. It is wonderful to see how the place has transformed. I think Dr Wan and I, we can feel the difference from when we first visited. I would like to congratulate all the Risers for making this happen.
4. I also would like to specially thank Dr Wan and his team of grassroot leaders and community partners for joining us today. We are very appreciative of the strong support from the volunteers from Kolam Ayer grassroot division. In fact, I spoke to him a few times and always asked him how things were going. He had given me very good development reports, and shared how he and his grassroots have been supporting this strongly, working with PPIS. That is what we want, because this is a community facility, and it belongs to the community. Even though this is specific to our inmates, it is key that they are able to rehabilitate and reintegrate with the wider Singapore community. So, thank you, Dr Wan.
Rise Above Halfway House
5. The road to reintegration is a journey filled with many challenges. Many ex-offenders may face barriers finding good employment, accommodation, and managing financial issues after release.
6. Women ex-offenders tend to have an additional set of unique challenges, such as re-establishing their multiple roles as daughters, wives, mothers, and caregivers.
7. The programmes at Rise Above are designed to be family-centric and cater to the unique needs of women offenders.
8. Rise Above will provide a safe and structured environment for women offenders to put into practice the skills and lessons they have learnt from the various rehabilitation programmes in prison.
9. They will also have the opportunity to engage in various recreational activities and community engagement events. Such activities would promote and strengthen their resolution to lead a socially responsible lifestyle, which is critical in preventing reoffending.
Collaboration with Community Partners
10. I am also very heartened to hear that Rise Above has started to collaborate with various community organisations to enhance the support provided to their residents.
11. Some of the collaborations include bridging with the Social Service Office for case management support, and Kolam Ayer grassroot division for community engagement.
12. Rise Above is also working with Yayasan Mendaki – as shared earlier by Ms Hazlina – as well as Agape, Image Mission, and ISCOS for their training preparation workshops and mentoring programmes.
13. Rise Above will be expecting their first batch of residents by the end of the month. So, by end of the month, we can expect nine residents to join Rise Above, and we can look forward to that. I hope the residents will benefit fully from the programmes and support system put in place by Rise Above.
14. To me, this represents another milestone in our journey to provide a stronger rehabilitation and reintegration journey for our ex-offenders. With the programmes, care, and in my view, the values of Rise Above – which are consistent with how we want to provide “Beyond Second Chances” for ex-offenders and especially the women, because of the multiple roles that they play – but also, as you call it, the “bridges” that you are building, the community, as well as organisations that can inject many more values as well as opportunities for our ex-offenders. These will help us, as a whole, to strengthen our approach towards rehabilitation and reintegration.
15. So, let us take this opportunity to journey this road together. Because it is worthwhile, it is meaningful, and it has in my view, a multiplier effect, not only in the lives of ex-offenders but also the wider community, the wider Singapore community.
16. Once again, thank you to Rise Above, all the Risers, all the supporters of the Risers, and all the various community organisations and partners, for coming together to support the rehabilitation and reintegration journey of our ex-offenders. What we do today will make a difference in the lives of the ex-offenders and their loved ones.
17. Thank you for having us.