DID YOU hear that most of Singapore’s ex-offenders remain precisely that? They generally don’t reoffend once they’re released. That’s from the Singapore Prison Service’s 2022 stats, isn’t it? Singapore’s two-year recidivism rates are among the world’s lowest at 20.4 per cent. The five-year figure however is near 40 per cent. These ex-offenders are putting in the effort.
I think that five-year number could be better, that said. But hey, crime’s part of a circle. Yeah, and the good thing about vicious circles is that we can break them.
How so? Supportive friends and family, learning new skills and having a stable job — all these help show ex-offenders that things tomorrow will be better than things today. Minister of State for Home Affairs Faishal Ibrahim provides this help.
What’s MOS Faishal do? He works with the Singapore Prison Service, which has programmes that psych up offenders to behave better. There’s also his outreach with Yellow Ribbon Singapore to find jobs for, and upskill, ex-offenders; 3,740 inmates were trained in 2022 alone. Plus, MOS Faishal’s co-chaired the National Committee on Prevention, Rehabilitation and Recidivism (NCPR) for the past five years, which is all about breaking cycles of offending.
This guy in that job training session I was at mentioned he was on some sort of new … “EmPS”? Yup. MOS Faishal went to Parliament in 2022 to amend the Prisons Bill. So now the EmPS — the Employment Preparation Scheme — is in place to let inmates skill up in the community, with everyone’s safety in mind, of course. It’s part of the overall ecosystem of rehabilitation that he’s building.
Well, that chat got me thinking: That’s a lot which MOS Faishal’s doing for rehabilitation. Why not help law-abiding citizens instead? He does. There’s how he’s keeping Singapore drug-free with tough new laws and how he’s helping low-income families with their rental flat needs. Plus, rehabilitating people is good for their immediate families as well as society overall. It’s about having people contribute to Singapore properly once they’ve paid off their debts to society in the eyes of the law.
What does MOS Faishal say about his cause? “We aim to promote a more accepting society that is willing to offer ex-offenders a second chance to start afresh. Ultimately, the safety and security of society is best served when ex-offenders successfully rehabilitate and reintegrate into society as contributing members.”
Right, let’s find work.