Posted at 10.15.2018
"While ex-offenders acknowledged that they had a need to play their part in seeking a new life, they called for society to become more understanding, and for more rehabilitation and occupations, so that they can reintegrate with, take part in, and contribute to society. "
Para 69, Article on "Children: Creating our Future" Consultation Exercise
1. The above extract dished up as the introduction pad for our workgroup's review into the issues bordering offenders before, during, and after incarceration.
2. We hope that the extract would aid the reader in putting our survey into perspective as it details the regions of target, and the philosophies and proposals behind each focus area.
In our pursuit to understand the primary difficulties faced by offenders, let us weigh the experience of the offender as he goes through his voyage from incarceration to reintegration:
During incarceration: He suffers from the negative influences of the prison environment
Before release: He's enthused by his impending release, but remains skeptical of pre-release programmes
After release: He's overcome by the transition to population and estranged from the community
In respond to the above, we aimed our review and customized our proposals in three wide-ranging areas of concentrate:
Enforcing Incarceration as a final Resort
Bridging the Split between Incarceration and Reintegration
5. We have designed the Bronfenbrenner's model of an ecosystem as the surroundings of ex-offender for connection as Annex A. This model may aid the reader in adding our philosophies and proposals into the "bigger picture".
6. Responses is greatly appreciated at
1. While incarceration or the threat thereof provides the elements of deterrence, punishment, and quarantine to the justice system, it can result in unwanted side effects that work from the passions of both contemporary society and incarcerated individuals.
2. An incarcerated offender is put through the risks of contamination from hardened criminals within the prison environment. The punitive isolated environment is also conducive for the offender to seek refuge and identity in the company of negative influences. Upon his release, the offender might find himself distanced from his relatives and buddies, while sharing a feeling of identity along with his former inmates. Coupled with the stigma that contemporary society places on him, the offender might be dragged into a vicious routine of "criminalisation", where minimal offenders, through incarceration, find themselves too estranged from culture to reintegrate.
3. Our view is the fact that if the use of incarceration is not effectively supported with a commensurate work by the justice system to divert reformable individuals to restorative programmes, a vicious cycle will wrap up being increasingly perpetuated.
4. While we recognise that youths, specifically the old ones between them, are adult enough to discern the criminal nature of their actions, and hence be kept culpable because of their offences, there is great prospect of rehabilitation in such offenders and thus avert the routine of criminalisation. It is our wish that young offenders be given the possibility to optimise this potential and so far as possible, be diverted from incarceration onto rehabilitative programmes.
5. While we press for diversionary phrases, were well aware of the necessity to maintain incarceration because of its original purposes of deterrence, abuse and quarantine. We also recognise that many improvements have been designed to allow rehabilitative programmes to take place in the jail environment. We endorse the need to maintain a balance of punitive and rehabilitative sentences, while targeting the greater lenient and restorative programmes to the people whom we determine as ideal.
Age pubs and sanctions
6. THE KIDS and Young People Act (CYPA) identifies a 'Child' as being a person who is below the age of 14 years and a 'Young person' as being a person who is 14 years or above and below the age of 16. In adherence to this age group limit, the offender must be below 16 years (i. e. , juvenile) when he/she is first priced in the Juvenile Judge. Once he reaches age 16, the Juvenile judge relinquishes its jurisdiction over to the adult court docket.
7. For the purposes of this doc, "youths" and "young offenders" are defined as individuals aged 16 to 21, while "juveniles" make reference to offenders below 16.
8. For juvenile offenders, pre-sentence accounts (PSRs) are made after the youths plead guilty, or are located guilty. PSRs allow the magistrate to examine the circumstances adjoining the juvenile's offence, as well as his track record, prior to the deliberation of the word.
9. For youths aged 16-21, the judge has the capacity to order PSRs for first time offenders, but this feature is not mandatory.
10. Diversionary phrases are limited for youths. They can be put on the Probation Program (PP), which is run by MCYS. Young offenders can also be sent to Reformative Training Centres (RTCs) and Drug Rehabilitation Centres (DRCs) run by the Singapore Prisons Service (SPS).
11. We have recognized philosophies and guidelines that may be reviewed to help expand provide the needs of young offenders and modern culture at large. The following points are discovered:
Age bars and sanctions
12. The existing age cover for the Juvenile Court docket is 16.
13. We are worried about how this age cover would reconcile with other years bars:
The US Conventions on the Protection under the law of a kid defines a child as a person below 18 years.
The to consume alcohol or cigarette at age 18
The right to marriage without parental consent at age 21
The right to vote at the age of 21
14. Into a smaller degree, we also question if having too many age pubs would present a perplexing picture to the average person on his freedoms and protection under the law as an adult.
Time lag between offence and trial
15. Whether an offender is incurred as a juvenile or an adult depends on the age when he is charged, not this when he devoted the offence. This may cause the youth being cared for as an adult courtroom for offences he devoted as a juvenile. Therefore 2 boys, person who has just transformed 15 and the other about to turn 16, were to commit an offence collectively - they will be treated differently if the aged boy converts 16 prior to the summary of his case. A harsher judicial routine awaits the more mature boy-even if he is merely marginally more than the younger one, and notwithstanding the actual fact that he could have played a smaller role in the offence.
16. Even though justice system expedites the investigations of juveniles nearing their 16th birthday, there is absolutely no legal warrant that juvenile offenders will not get incurred as individuals through this technicality.
17. We could also concerned about possible cases where those who were well below 16 at time of offence can be recharged a few years after they committed their offences (for reasons uknown).
Disparity in sentencing options
18. As the Juvenile Courtroom is more open to alternative sentencing and uses the Restorative Justice model, the court docket system that more aged youths proceed through is more punitive and arguably less rehabilitative.
19. While we recognize that generally, maturity includes age and a more ready acceptance of personal responsibility, we believe that more mature youths should get the possibility to benefit from the restorative programmes which juveniles are aware of. We argue that these youths are still at a stage where they may be relatively impressionable and susceptible to negative peer influences, but the potential to turn over a new leaf is still very real. Notwithstanding the attempts of current organizations like RTC (Reformative Training Centre), we respectfully urge the justice system and community to exploit even more the potential for young ones to veer away from the routine of criminalisation and nurture them as fruitful and active individuals of population.
20. We wish to recognize the work of government organizations, especially Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Singapore Jail Service (SPS), for constantly critiquing incarceration philosophies throughout the recent years and regularly presenting rehabilitative programmes in prison phrases. Through our proposals, we hope to solve the areas where gaps have been recognized and regulations can be furthered attuned. The proposals are based on our philosophy of steering reformable offenders away from incarceration and avoiding them from being dragged into the vicious cycle of criminalisation.
Proposal 1: Provide wider sentencing options for offenders - based on the era when they dedicated the offence, not the age when they are recharged.
Rationale: Offenders must have their sentences meted predicated on the circumstances surrounding the time of these offence (era being a very critical circumstances). While we identify the section of court's jurisdiction based on age, the incongruity between a fixed event ( the time of offence) and a variable event (the time the offender is recharged in courtroom) can be solved by giving the judge wider sentencing powers, ie. to treat him as per his era at time of offence.
Constraints: One potential matter arises when there has been a time lag of many years of more: Would juvenile programs such as the Children' Home and Guidance Programme be effective on an older youngsters or even a grown-up? We feel that if the children has since been free from crime, they can be deemed as having reformed and really should be meted out with a Community Service Order (CSO) instead.
Stakeholders: The Juvenile Courtroom is best positioned to champion this change used, with the authorities in relationship as the last mentioned holds out offence research.
Proposal 2: Make pre-sentence accounts mandatory for all first-time offenders aged 16 to 21. For duplicate offenders, we urge the court to demand updates with their PSRs to incorporate new circumstances that may mitigate their conditions.
Rationale: Pre-sentence accounts (PSRs) are critical documents which judges can refer to during the deliberation of phrases. In an adult court docket of legislations, where even modest offences can land a offender in prison, we urge the use of PSRs to permit the court to raised appreciate and understand the culpability and reformability of the offender before sentencing. Through this development, we hope to reinforce the philosophy that incarceration is a sentence of final resort. For do it again offenders, modified PSRs would help the judges achieve a complete picture of the circumstances bordering the offender's crimes, as well as the advancement of his history.
Constraints: One matter is the source and manpower limits of MCYS's Probation Service as it's the division that churns out PSRs. We advocate a review of allocation of resources to address this limitation. Another concern is usually that the processing acceleration of court trials would be slowed down.
Stakeholders: The Judiciary is best placed to motivate for the increased use of PSRs. MCYS should come in as partner to work through the implementation details of the proposal
Proposal 3: Extend appropriate restorative programs to youths aged 16 to 21. Our proposed programmes include the Guidance Programme (GP), Community Service Requests (CSOs) and Home Detention Order.
Rationale: While using extension of the aforementioned programs, the adult court will have even wider discretion to steer youths away from incarceration. Coupled with the utilization of PSRs, the Courtroom will consider diversionary sentencing even more and leave incarceration as a final resort to treat do it again/ severe offenders.
Implementation: We recognise that deterrence and consequence must continue to be as serious enforcement tools in dealing with youths. To balance between the need to maintain strictness and severeness in treatment of offences with the rule of giving a second chance, we need the judge to consider a "cocktail" treatment to apply our proposal: offenders serve shorter sentences before joining restorative programmes.
Constraints: One matter is the chance of contamination when more mature youths blend with juvenile offenders in the restorative programmes that had hitherto catered mainly to the last mentioned. This risk is minimized as the option is mostly for those recharged for modest offences or where relevant mitigating circumstances can be found. The more aged youths can even be segregated from the juveniles. Another concern is the ability of restorative programmes to handle the increased workload.
Stakeholders: The Judiciary is best positioned to champion this proposal, in particular the Juvenile Court docket as consultant and the administrators of restorative programs as companions.
Medium/ LONG RUN Proposal
Proposal 4: Review the existing era cap of 16 for offenders to be charged in the Juvenile Courtroom.
Rationale: As stated earlier, there will vary age restrictions marking the different milestones of adulthood in Singapore. This cap of 16 for offenders to be recharged as juveniles happens to be one of the earliest. Though this issue has been broached before in early on reviews, we ask yourself if the government bodies can review the circumstances around the age cap in light of the go up of the awareness for the needs of offenders as well as the potency of restorative programmes to keep them off of the cycle of criminalisation.
Constraints: Whilst there are several universities of thought, we take the view that time caps are arbitrary as a person's maturity can't be determined by era alone. We believe that more room can get to people of era 17 or 18 to benefit from the range of sentencing options currently accorded to under16s at the Juvenile Court. But the bringing up of this cap would also let more youths to undergo a far more lenient and restorative judge of law, which is consistent with our philosophy of making incarceration a final resort.
Stakeholders: This proposal advocates an alteration in legislation. We claim that the Ministry of Laws, combined with the Ministry of Home Affairs, conduct this review.
1. The stage between incarceration and reintegration is a crucial one, where offenders can embark on restorative programmes and put together themselves for lives after incarceration.
2. This phase is made up of pre-release (the length right before release) and aftercare (the period after release). We think that it ought to be run as a seamless transition to ease the convict from one environment to a totally different one.
3. Being released from prison can be at times a bittersweet experience. Nearly every convict feels the original rush of freedom. But that sense of exhilaration dries up when population actually is a strangely familiar yet distanced place. What many an ex-offender fails to realise is the fact that he himself has changed a whole lot during incarceration that adapting to his new environment is by no means an easy task.
4. Many ex-offenders fail to stick to top of things and your investment promises designed to their wardens, their counselors, and most importantly, to themselves. They conclude avoiding outreach programmes and losing give attention to their treatment. Other ex-offenders fail to adapt to the rigours that culture places with them and seek refuge and identification with other ex-offenders. Alas, every ex-offender that changes his back on world is a potential recalcitrant hardcore felony who drags not only himself but his family members down as well.
5. Being aware of this risk, contemporary society must help ex-offenders transit to a new environment and offer opportunities to allow them to reengage their neighborhoods.
6. We acknowledge and applaud the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)'s efforts in establishing an comprehensive and well-planned pre-release and aftercare platform that is designed to meet up with the needs of the recently released. To the end, hopefully that MHA will continue steadily to extend educational, sociable, and employment opportunities through its platform.
7. We as a workgroup seek to include value to the existing construction. Our proposals will enhance the efficiency of certain programs as well as create new ones to reveal the need to bridge the split between the incarcerated and the released.
Short Pre-release programs with restricted itineraries
8. Pre-release programs range from two months to one 12 months before release, depending largely on the length of time of the word. Generally of thumb, the shorter the word, the shorter is the duration of pre-release.
9. The shorter the pre-release, the less time is there to engage the impending ex-offender in counselling and release to aftercare programs. The small itinerary leaves little room for a convict to "absorb" the meaning of the programmes. In conjunction with the dash of knowing that freedom is just nearby, the convict is likely to rush through the program without paying heed to how he needs to manage his life after release.
Menial Aspect of Community Outreach/ Service Programmes
10. Both aftercare programs and community service purchases (CSOs) advocate community service as a channel for ex-offenders to provide back to society as well pick up skills that might demonstrate useful in other aspects of their lives.
11. To that end, we speculate if the menial dynamics of work and the limited capacities to add value serve as stumbling blocks to fully capture ex-offenders' interest.
12. Our viewpoint is easy: to enhance and increase to the prevailing framework of pre-release and aftercare to bridge the split between incarceration and reintegration.
Proposal 1: Lengthening Pre-release Duration
Details: We seek to enforce the very least duration where there will be adequate the perfect time to conduct counselling as well as allow convicts to sample more aftercare programmes. We advocate much longer pre-release for much longer sentences to element in more guidance in light of his longer contact with the jail environment (as well as much longer absence from the exterior community).
Rationale: We believe no subject how brief a sentence is, an offender requires enough counseling and prep for his changeover to society. In addition, hopefully that, through the sampling of more programmes at a more leisurely pace, the offender would have enough information and emphasis to stay down on an aftercare program in which he has an authentic and sustainable interest.
Constraints: There is absolutely no promise that the receptivity to the programmes will increase with longer pre-release. Also, pre-release programs face security limits as offenders cannot leave the prison environment up till their point of release.
Stakeholders: We see the Ministry of Home Affairs as best placed to champion this review, as well as VWOs as partners to improve pre-release programmes as samplers with their aftercare components.
Proposal 2: Enhancing Early Release Programmes
Details: We want to offer early-release programmes like the Home Detention Design to every deserving convict. The Home Detention Scheme is an early release programme where offenders are tagged, monitored, and put under curfew. Participants of this program are permitted to work or research in the day.
We hope to extend early-release programs to those who wish to enter tertiary establishments, or even to seek hospital-based psychiatric treatments for addictions (eg. gambling, substance abuse) that spurred them towards criminal offenses. By removing individuals from the jail environment, it will be possible to bring forwards aftercare programs to the pre-release period, as well as institute compulsory community service programs as a way to gain subjection and pay their dues to population.
Rationale: This proposal espouses our beliefs on striking a balance of punitive measures (deterrence through incarceration) and rehabilitative programmes (such as counselling, community service). Hitherto, convicts who've displayed good behaviour and genuine persistence to reform have been located on early-release plans (eg. Community Founded Rehabilitation Programme) on that premise. We seek to improve the value of early-release by increasing the selection of endeavours convicts can take on to enrich themselves.
Implementation: We would like to focus on the house Detention Program as a case in point. A convict can be viewed as for eligibility a year or so before his release. The following screening conditions (in no way exhaustive) is highly recommended:
Severity of offence/ Amount of sentence
Conduct in institution
Response to institutional treatment efforts (eg. counselling)
Psychological examination of criminal/offending attitudes
Support of family
Likelihood to reap the benefits of program (eg. an overstayer/ against the law immigrant is improbable to benefit)
The activities and programs the convict is qualified to receive:
Employment through Report or other programs (by himself merit)
Education in any mainstream school (by himself merit)
Hospital-based psychiatric treatment for possible addictions
Compulsory stint in community service
Constraints: Expanding early release programmes entails an increase in the resources needed to support your time and effort. Gleam fear of individuals re-offending and betraying the trust vested in them by their employers and/ or classes. Their unrepentance levies an encumbrance on their families and support groups.
While this dread is within reason, research has shown that breaches of the Home Detention Scheme have been lower than 1% (MHA, 2003). Furthermore, our proposal will not relax the entry criteria, but looks for instead to give participants usage of rehabilitative measures such as psychiatric treatment, community service and outreach programs.
Stakeholders: We start to see the Ministry of Home Affairs as best put to champion this review, since it's the ministry which manages early-release programmes. But the roles of associates such as Rating, aftercare firms, VWOs and IMH are evenly important in providing the strategies of proposal for the participants.
Proposal 3: Provide assignments of ownership and responsibility in community orders and aftercare programs.
Details: To accept ex-offenders in existing or new community outreach programmes where they can contribute in capacities most suited with their talents. Apart from extending a wider variety of jobs to cater a wide array of talents, there must also be functions where ex-offenders can get pregnant, plan and implement certain occasions.
Rationale: Many ex-offenders lack the self-esteem and harbour an inferiority complex which makes it extremely difficult to use of these shells to reengage modern culture. Their situation is akin to a Capture-22, as self-esteem is also gained through gratifying connections with the city. The self-esteem of an ex-offender can even be lifted through the satisfaction of experiencing his talent extensively recognised and loved.
We believe community outreach programmes are excellent platforms to help ex-offenders regain their self-esteem. An ex-offender would find pleasure and satisfaction in the programme if he can display his expertise: whether it be jamming in a rock-band at a community concert or leading a run on a health awareness day. His positive takeaways will definitely increase his self-esteem, which really is endless will encourage him to consider charge of other areas of his life just as earnestly.
Constraints: Community programs might be hesitant to start higher profile functions to ex-offenders due to questions on the latters' competencies and trustworthiness. Also, for the proposal to work there must be a crucial mass of such assignments to focus on ex-offenders and their myriad skills and preferences.
Stakeholders: We feel that the main aftercare organizations such as Report, SACA, and SANA are best located to champion this proposal. But this is actually a small scale programme that can be performed by other VWOs to make a critical mass of value added assignments. VWOs such as self applied help groupings (eg. SINDA, CDAC, Mendaki) can explore how they may fit ex-offenders into their existing array of community outreach programs.
Proposal 4: Make a support group for newly released ex-offenders
Details: Use more mature and mature ex-offenders who have effectively reformed and settled down as role models and mentors for the newly released. We aim to keep this group low account and inject the support group into activities (eg. community service) which form the system of interaction between the mentors and their mentees.
Rationale: Mature and reformed ex-offenders have the potential to be role models just how we as non-offenders can't ever be. They talk about a common experience with the recently released and can empathise with the concerns and distractions of the recently released. We hope our role models could possibly be the anchors in the lives of ex-offenders after jail.
We want to keep this group low account to encourage mature ex-offenders to join. Their participation is paramount to this proposal's success. Instead of creating a platform for the support group to interact with the newly released, we can leverage on existing programs such as community outreach programmes which can be conducive for more laid back discussion.
Constraints: The first concern is clear: How do we keep the group low account yet seek recruitment positively? We believe that recruitment can be achieved by looking through databases of more mature ex-offenders, as well as by word of mouth and by timely advertising latching to wider advertising campaigns (eg. Yellow Ribbon Project). Gleam risk of negative influences streaming from the recently released to matured ex-offenders and vice versa. We desire to address this matter by selecting only matured and reformed ex-offenders as mentors.
Stakeholders: We find the key aftercare agencies such as Report, SACA, SANA, as well as the Singapore Prisons Service well placed to spearhead this proposal.
However, our workgroup, having initiated this proposal, wish to step forward and take possession of our own idea. We would like to see ourselves evolving into a steering committee where we will have representatives from the abovementioned agencies providing advice and bringing about cross company initiatives. We could thrilled by this original opportunity to pursue our ideals and also to drive this proposal from inception to fruition. We hope the abovementioned firms can provide us their support inside our efforts.
1. About 11, 000 ex-offenders are released from the prison system each year. However, many ex-offenders end up transiting to a "second prison", where these are locked up in unseen cells: behind the walls of ignorance, fear, distrust, and stigmatisation.
2. This "second" prison stymies the best efforts of ex-offenders to get rapprochement with estranged family, mend fences with the community, seek career and main themselves as participating citizens of society. Facing great difficulty in seeking a semblance of a normal life, the allure of criminal offense and the succour provided by their ex-inmates develop all the more tempting.
3. Our ex-offenders are fighting an uphill challenge to reintegrate. They have special needs and added issues in carrying out day to day activities. We as a lot more privileged must extend a helping hand where possible, without sapping the ex-offenders' spirit of self-reliance. Our measure of success is always to help ex-offenders until where they can help themselves.
4. In particular, we applaud the ex-offenders' willingness to seek employment. A well balanced and acceptable job is an anchor within an ex-offender's initiatives to rid himself of the proverbial crutches. It really is a major part of his reintegration to population. Our group will therefore give attention to proposals to help him in his job search, as well as help employers who are willing to give him a second chance.
5. Through our proposals, we seek to redress the spectre of discrimination which hangs above the heads of ex-offenders seeking occupation. It really is one of the walls of the "second jail" that we have to tear down.
6. We applaud the success of the Yellow Ribbon Task and work of the relevant organizations like the Attention Network in nurturing society's knowing of the ex-offenders' plight. Hopefully that through increased recognition, the public would be activated to alter discriminative mindsets and practices.
7. Our proposals would trip effectively on the success of the Yellow Ribbon Project, as they seek to give ex-offenders the same opportunity as almost every other job-seeker, and let employers see them for not who these were, but who they are and what they are capable of.
8. Police records in Singapore do not expire. In an excellent world where there is absolutely no stigmatisation, permanent police records do not create an issue. But everybody knows that such a global is beyond us. Many a time, ex-offenders are seen with an elevated eyebrow and treated at arm's span. Through stigmatisation, everlasting records become brands that ex-offenders have to carry for life. These brands often show you themselves when ex-offenders shed their veneer of isolation and are most susceptible, eg. seeking work.
9. The first rung on the ladder in a job application is often a credit card applicatoin form. Most, if not all, forms pose a one-liner question which asks if the applicant has have you ever been convicted in a courtroom of law for any offence in virtually any country.
10. We acknowledge that employers have every to protect their companies from high-risk individuals. With the declaration, they can display screen off recalcitrant offenders who present a risk to the functions of these businesses. The agreed upon declaration by the applicant also justifies the fast dismissal of the applicant should he vacation resort to deceit to get the job.
11. Since there is nothing incorrect with the objective of the question, it could be used to discriminate against all who keep police records. Job job seekers with files can be screened out whatever the severity of these offences and their attempts to stay free from crime. We think it is disturbing that people who have been convicted of small offences in their children are being refused interviews along with recalcitrant hardcore criminals who form the minority of job hunters.
12. As stated earlier, the purpose of our proposals is to take on the discrimination faced by job applicants at once. Through our proposals, we seek to change discriminative practices. We know that removing discrimination totally is a extra tall order; whatever we can do is to put in place procedures and regulations that help those who can be helped as well as indicate our deal with to redress discrimination.
Proposal 1: Wiping slate clean (classifying data as confidential)
Details: We are very urged by MHA's recent announcement that it's in the process of applying such a program. We are over a parallel track, forcing for what's essentially a programme that has the power to render offences as "spent". Once an offence is "spent", it is categorized as private and the ex-offender is no more required to disclose his record history to all or any except authorised body. For instance, an ex-offender has to reveal his background to the police if he re-offends. He also offers to reveal his record when seeking work in government firms/ market sectors that are sensitive to all offences, eg. security makes, childcare.
Implementation: The programme depends on merit, the severity of the applicant's offence, and the very least time duration to evaluate the applicant's successes in staying clean. For instance, an ex-offender caught for shoplifting can make an application for his record to be "spent" 5 years after his release. Another ex-offender convicted for rioting can apply 10 years after his release. Programme administrators will examine the work of the ex-offenders in their reintegration to world. Testimonials from aftercare officials and employers will aid the applicants' situations.
Rationale: This proposal addresses the problem of permanent criminal records festering as brands that ex-offenders carry for the others with their lives. We desire to extend a second chance to minor offenders who've shown the will to reform and reengage society. Through this program, we will also be giving ex-offenders a robust motivation to work hard and stay clear of crime.
Constraints: We recognize the concerns that culture has in getting an imperfect picture of any ex-offender's history. However, this proposal is merely a part of an overall technique to beat stigmatisation. The long-term viability of the programme depends on the success of the entire strategy. To balance the must protect both world and the ex-offender, the main element to the success of this programme will be the disclosure rights of authorised systems. That is an implementation depth that is best kept to the stakeholders to mull over. The idea behind the fine detail remains straightforward: Different systems have different needs for disclosure. A body requires disclosure only if its hobbies face a realistic threat from incomplete information.
Stakeholders: In light of MHA's announcement during the Budget Debate '05 that it is in the ultimate stages of rolling out this programme, we hope so it can incorporate our proposal in its review and consider the federal government and Singapore National Employers' Federation (SNEF) as associates to research in to the disclosure protection under the law of different consumer and private body, given the sensitivities of different systems to different categories of offences.
Proposal 2: Rephrasing of the work interview question
Details: Replace the existing one-liner with a organized question that requires the ex-offender to mark the category that his offences fall under, write in the details of his offence, and show the entire year that he devoted his offence.
Implementation: To prevent the organized question from blowing up to a long tenuous questionnaire, employers would have to categorise offences corresponding to seriousness and give attention to offences that are usually more hypersensitive to the employer's character of work. Not merely does it limit the space of the question, but it will force the workplace to focus on offences that must definitely be declared in detail for their effect on the employer's characteristics of work. For example, a bank would want to list white collar crimes such as scams and criminal breach of trust (CBT) under the organized question. A job candidate who have been convicted of any unrelated offence (eg. rioting) will tick the field that categorises his offence and fill in the facts. Conversely, another applicant who has been convicted of CBT will tick the pack "Criminal Breach of Trust", in so doing alerting the company of the hypersensitive offence.
Rationale: The execution is a process that people have termed as "industrial differentiation". This process is a departure from the "one size will fit all" one-liner that employers presently use to display risky applicants. Because the structured question highlights very sensitive offences and relegates other offences into wide-ranging categories, it allows the employer to apply selective screening and induces ex-offenders to apply for careers that they thought were unrealistic due to roadblock knowingly or unknowingly placed by the employer. With the execution of the proposal, employers can depart from a discriminative practice but still guard their pursuits against high-risk ex-offenders.
Constraints: We recognize that workplaces are concerned with the opening up their environments to ex-offenders. Such concerns are within reason as there are recalcitrant ex-offenders who betray the trust vested in them by harming the passions of the business and/ or its clients. As the business bears most of the fallout from the recalcitrance, it is logical for this to screen ex-offenders from its work environment.
That said, the company can seek to safeguard its pursuits as well as advance the cause of ex-offenders through the adoption of our proposal. Recalcitrant offenders are a minority, but it is very unfortunate to have the majority of ex-offenders undergo for the actions of a few dark-colored sheep.
Stakeholders: We know that the federal government is open to recruiting ex-offenders. But a lot more can be done to lessen discrimination in job applications and evaluate job applicants regarding to job fit and merit. We claim that the federal government, being the most significant single workplace, take the lead in employing our proposal. We also advocate the partnership of Singapore National Employers' Federation (SNEF) to market this proposal to the private sector.
Employers play a crucial role in their support of an ex-offender's rehabilitation efforts. However, such assignments are in no way easy as ex-offenders have special needs and behavioural habits that can estrange their support framework. Through our proposals, we aim to reward employers who have given ex-offenders another chance, as well as help employers managing ex-offender employees.
Proposal 3: Incentivising Potential Employers
Details: Provide financial/taxes incentives to employers who retain the services of ex-offenders. These could include double duty deductions (of ex-offender employees' salaries against taxable income) or a lower life expectancy corporate duty (e. g. 10%) for employers with a sizeable headcount of ex-offenders and/or with a higher ex-offender personnel retention rate.
Alternatively, financial grants or loans could be given to employers who add value with their ex-offender employees. These grants or loans could be utilized to subsidise the price tag on training workshops and learning opportunities for ex-offender employees to improve their skills and progress in their occupations.
Rationale: We fully recognise that businesses, being businesses, will always be focused on the bottomline.
However, hopefully that companies who've stepped onward to balance corporate and business wellbeing with commercial public responsibility can be rewarded and showcased as model corporate citizens. We'd also prefer to provide incentives to possible employers, as much companies need to get past the hurdle of fear that stops them from supplying ex-offenders an possibility to interview or to prove themselves face to face.
Constraints: Budget constraints notwithstanding, we want to emphasise that financial incentives treat only the symptoms rather than the malady: discrimination. Incentives wouldn't normally succeed if employers aren't in for the long haul and do not view ex-offenders as long term employees. To strengthen the efficacy of the incentive scheme, it could have to journey on related consumer awareness campaigns such as the Yellow Ribbon Job.
Stakeholders: This incentive system should be implemented by SCORE in partnership with WDA and NTUC, such that it can leverage face to face bankers of the particular agencies. We would also prefer to invite MOF to examine the opportunity of rewarding duty incentives to employers of ex-offenders.
Proposal 4: Promoting employers of ex-offenders
Details: Establish a formalised support system for employers to cope with the unique troubles when coping with ex-offenders. This system could include dedicated resources and services such as sharing sessions and training for employers, as well as counseling for employers who've trouble dealing with their difficult employees.
Rationale: Currently, Rating conducts regular site sessions and tea trainings to solicit reviews and provide an avenue for closer relationship between some existing employers and Credit score.
However, many employers continue to struggle in the management of problem employees. We hope that through the provision of a more holistic aid offer, every workplace that can be involved with both welfare of his ex-offender employees as well as his company can have the information and training he needs to strike a successful balance.
Constraints: The manpower had a need to assist in such workshops might be limited, which is a task if the proposal hits a popular chord when put in place.
Stakeholders: Really is endless that SCORE, using its incumbent experience, can get more resources to fine tune and expand the reach of its company workshops. WDA, NTUC, and PSD (Open public Service Division), can help multiply the term and train themselves to be experienced in employer counseling.
1. We hope our statement has succeeded in apprising the reader of the workgroup's goals, philosophical referrals, and proposals.
2. Through this report, each of the three regions of emphasis: their backgrounds, current situations, and proposals, has been articulated contrary to the theme of reintegrating ex-offenders.
3. As the emphasis of our proposals is to present, boost, and fix plans and programs, the altering in our mindsets of ex-offenders and their stereotypes remains the main element to success.
4. Together with the progression from current norms to a far more forgiving attitude and the will to identify between your reformers and the recalcitrant, our proposals will trip favourably on the winds of a far more gracious population.
5. We wish to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the companies and individuals who graciously offered their advice and support. Our findings would not be complete without their contributions. Our set of acknowledgements is attached as Annex B.
6. Specifically, we would like to give thanks to the convicts and ex-offenders who stepped ahead using their invaluable insights on the difficulties they experienced, as well as the efficiency on a few of our original ideas. Hopefully that the proposals in this record will lead to the betterment of the lives on every level of their quest.
7. We would like to end off by expressing our gratitude for the exposure to the variety of national issues, the chance to work with the various levers of Government and civil population, & most importantly, the chance to articulate our ideas and nurture them into simple fact. We have been deeply inspired by the level of inclusiveness the Government is extending to youths and would like to reciprocate by being more actively involved in the issues that dot our national landscape.
End of Document
Sex, age, health, working abilities etc
(E) Faith based groups
(D) Work/ Study environment
Combinations/ Relationship of organizations in microsystem
Support systems eg. Community workers, or organizations like SCORE
Attitudes and ideologies of the culture
Sociohistorical affects on development eg. Meritocracy, gender differences in employment
Space-Time Ecosystem predicated on Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Theory of Development
This system identifies the individual's romantic environment. It offers the family, friends, neighbourhood, religious organizations, and work/ analysis environment.
This system consists of the combination of various Microsystems. For example, secular contacts may have links with various religious groups, thus adding the ex-offender to various faiths. These systems can communicate directly, like the above mentioned example, or it make a difference one another. For instance, having poor human relationships with peers might impact an individual's romantic relationship with co-workers in his work environment.
This system refers to settings where the ex-offender does not have an active role. However these systems would have an effect on the ex-offender's experience and life after jail. For example, if media portrays a confident image of ex-offenders, the last mentioned might be more easily integrated into society. Employment laws also have an impact on the success of an ex-offender's job search, or time for his previous job.
This system identifies the culture where the ex-offender resides. The culture identifies the behavior habits, beliefs, and all the products of an organization of folks that are passed on from generation to some other. For example, in Singapore, the culture is more risk averse: employers still need some time to trust ex-offenders before offering them jobs. The extent of this situation might vary elsewhere on earth.
This system is the introduction of the society and its values. For example, when somebody is released after 30 years in jail, many things could have changed, including societal values and mindsets. An ex-offender might be surprised to see many women working and carving out employment opportunities, which might not have been the norm before he was incarcerated.
We would like to thank the following individuals for their invaluable contributions. The insights they have provided were instrumental in the crafting of your philosophies and proposals.
Dr. Ann Wee, Juvenile Court of Singapore
Ms Elaine Loo, MCYS
Ms Ng Chen Hoon, Ms Enon, Ms Goh Bee Shan, SCORE
Residents of Kaki Bukit Prison School
Three Cheers to the Crafters of the report: Young ones Reloaded! Hip Hip Hurray!
Thank you, everyone, for the great advice, the infinite brainstorming, and the large work of translating random ideas into well-argued proposals. May the enthusiasm for advancing the cause of ex-offenders bring us forth in to the next stage: Making our dreams a reality!
Dr. Mohamad Maliki Osman, Parliamentary Secretary, WorkGroup Adviser
Mr. Ahmad Nizam Abbas, Co-Chair, Junior Reloaded
Mr. Goh Kim Hua, Co-Chair, Children Reloaded
Ms. Kong Kum Peck, Senior Associate Director, MCYS
Ms. Fiona Kanagasingam, MCYS
Ms. Lim Jia Ying, MCYS
Youth Reloaded Sub Group 3: Reintegrating Ex-Offenders
Mr. Samuel Chan Wei Mun, Facilitator
Mr. Sophian Abd Rahman
Mr. Mark Clinton Galistan
Mr. Chong Weien
Ms. Ang Siew Theng
Ms. Juliet Ler
Ms. Teo En Qi
Ms. Agnes Wong
Ms. Mika Yap
Mr. Tan Yong Liang
Mr. Fauwaz Nurhelmy Bin Maaroof
Mr. Chia Poh Meng
Mr. Don Yap