Posted at 11.25.2018
Help Unlock the Second Prison', the tagline from Yellow Ribbon Task, identifies that the ex-offenders, upon release from the prisons, will be locked up by the 'walls' developed by the contemporary society. Due to the belief of the general public towards these ex-inmates, they often times found problems in seeking employment. Such prejudice and discrimination will result in ex-inmates obtaining fewer benefits, not simply impacting on the ex-offenders, but also their own families. Fi the situation will not improve, inequality will persist in the modern culture. We should then implement pragmatic answers to lessen the discrimination against them.
Ex-offenders, also known as ex-convicts, are those people who have been released from jail or those with a criminal history or background (Wikipedia). Every year in Singapore, around 11, 000 ex-convicts are released back to the society (Singapore Prison Service). Some of the common offences are offences against people such as assault, offences against property such as robbery, intimate offences, medication offences and white collar crimes (Criminal Legislations). Career is one of the main element indicators on whether these previous inmates are able to successfully re-integrate into the society. Taking a look at some of the employment figures, Singapore Company of Rehabilitative Businesses (SCORE) widened their data source with 2, 118 employers in their database and Industrial & Services Co-Operative Contemporary society (ISCOS) has helped 3, 000 ex-offenders to find jobs so far. In this article, I seek to explore and compare discrimination on ex-offenders, especially employment opportunities, as well as its implications in Singapore with USA. After having knowledge about the issue, I will propose solutions across administration, organisational and specific level.
Many people could have known there are support programmes such as the Yellow Ribbon Task and other organisations such as Singapore Organization of Rehabilitative Businesses (SCORE), to help ex-offenders reintegrate into the population. Although these support programmes exist, we need to consider its effectiveness in helping ex-offenders to reintegrate in to the culture. The re-integration rate will therefore provides an indication of the amount of discrimination against these ex-offenders.
Furthermore, there is little connections with between the public and ex - inmates as the general public shun away and feel that they do not deserve all the benefits such as real estate and taxes benefits. It is therefore important that we recognize the lifetime of such stereotyping and increase awareness to lessen the degree of discrimination and also to assist these ex-offenders.
After these former inmates leave their physical incarceration, these are faced with the next jail, i. e. family, friends, employers and the community at large. A lot of the offenders have tattoos on the body, which implies status, electricity and belonging to a certain group. Due to stereotyping, we tend to group individuals who have tattoos as those people who have committed crimes and therefore, concluding they are gangsters and criminals. We are often afraid that we might be another victim of the "gangsters and criminals" that people stand a distance away from them or go towards a crowded area.
On an organisational level, we can easily see that some employers remain unwilling to hire ex-offenders, because they believe that 'leopards can't ever change its areas'. It is heartening to see the volume of ex-offenders being employed have increased with the years but we can not guarantee that they have been given similar employment protection under the law as the others. For instance, some employers resorted to track record grounds before make decisions in relation to employment. From your papers, excited job seekers applied for a job at the Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands casinos, but prior to the official beginning, at least 30 employees needed to leave their job. All of them failed the Casino Regulatory Specialist (CRA)'s background checks and therefore their contracts were voided. Among the affected employees got didn't declare his shoplifting offence. We realised that there surely is no difference on whether if those with criminal records announced or not, they still experienced their deals terminated anyhow.
While we understand the concerns over criminal history as the money completed in casinos are in large amount, we have to consider if these record are actually the best and lone predictors for future performance. Do we assess those have continuously erred and condemn that they don't deserve the opportunity to repent?
For this case, suggestions is always to put those people who have a criminal history on an interval of probation instead of sacking them. A number of the youths interviewed noticed that the move by the casinos are not wrong, because we cannot guarantee that folks will not be powered by greed of course, if there are any troubles, the public may complain and question on why the casinos were built-in the first place and just why were no precautions used. Hence, it is only right to conduct background checks on them. Besides that, careers can still be offered to them in the "less risky" areas.
In addition, job people are often necessary to fill up the employment form and declare that if they have been convicted in a judge in virtually any country before. Because normally, this is a one-liner question, ex-offenders' applications can be filtered out without taking into consideration the seriousness of the offences or even the recidivism rate of the offender. This might therefore provide an chance of employers to display screen out ex-offenders and justify if there any improper acts in the company in future. Generally, these applicants can expect that there will no reply from the business, which may encourage them to lie about their track record. In the event the ex-offender is found lying, they will be automatically disqualified while declaration of their history might not be always disqualify them. We encourage all ex-offenders in all honesty with days gone by.
In the United States, the discrimination against ex-offenders is so great that they are deprived of the basic privileges of voting. Without voting protection under the law, which means that the policies and laws applied could be against their protection under the law. In 2008, the legislation amended regulations to permit voting.
The society plays a substantial role in the reintegration of the ex-offenders. It's important that people recognise these ex-offenders are humans too. To err is human. If they have determined a great sin before or not, they still participate in the society. They may be able-bodied and are wanting to contribute to the contemporary society and current economic climate. However, despite their eagerness, we shun and discriminate them, and presume that they can revert back again to their old ways. In the end, the society is unable to progress all together. We need to prove that past convicts are investments to the population.
Also, when these ex-offenders cannot secure employment, even on short-term, to get their income, they'll revert back to their old methods for getting the money to make it through. The recvidism rate in Singapore has remained at 25 percent25 % since 2006 (Prisons-SCORE Corporate Progress 2009). That is much lesser than the recidivism rate in California, where 70% revert back to their old ways. It is expensive to maintain the jail as well as support rehabilitative programs. The economic costs, which comes from taxes payers increased further when these ex-offenders recidivise. The major prisons in USA, like the one in New York, faced increased pressure to release their prisoners after minimum offering period or putting them through programs somewhat than prisons. Their state spends $2. 5 billion per annum to keep up its corrections department. Unexpected surge of ex-offenders was too frustrating and many recidivise scheduled to insufficient and effective rehabilitative and support programs. The revolving door is very expensive, it offers $1 billion per year to California's overburdened penal system (Another By-Product of the Tough economy: Ex-convicts, TIME).
As mentioned previously, these previous inmates experienced discrimination in the general public and most notably, at the place of work. With no employment, they will not have the ability to endure and support their families, especially if they are the breadwinner of the family. When this happens, they are not able to afford basic necessities. Their families could also suffer consequently of poor education and could need to turn out to work. Their spouse and children may grow up considering why should life be so strenuous and will then resort to offences to get what they wanted. It is difficult for ex-offenders to live a better life when they aren't given the same opportunities. This may continue as a vicious routine.
To reduce and even eliminate the stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination against these ex-offenders, it is important that we find out the main causes of this matter and use various programmes and activities to encourage lively involvement as increased interaction may enhance the perspective of the general public towards ex-offenders.
To start with, organizations should plan more activities to bring ex-offenders a step closer to the public. It is hoped that through such activities, it provides both the community and ex-offenders an chance to interact and therefore, create a sense of trust among them. Such activities may be trip to the prisons and / or halfway homes, outdoor and in house activities, community service assignments or even, encourage ex-offenders to participate in existing situations such as Yellow Ribbon Jail Run. Through discussion, it could change the perspective of the public towards them and for that reason reduce the scope of discrimination.
Many ex-offenders have low self-esteem and are afraid of rejection. Therefore, we have to require the ex-offenders in the planning and performing of events locally. These events provide an chance of the previous inmates to showcase their abilities in various areas.
The public know that it is problematic for ex-offenders to find and secure jobs. Also, from an interview with an ex-offender from Highpoint Community Services Association in '09 2009, I then found out that employers often do not need to give ex-offenders a second chance. This outright act of non-acceptance already killed the only wish that these ex-offenders have to reintegrate into the society. As such, more organizations should begin working on a advertising campaign on hiring ex-offenders. These promotions should give attention to instilling the correct mindset of treating the ex-offenders and also their capacity to work as well as any other regular person.
As much as I acknowledge that no one can get rid discrimination, including employers, research shows that provision work is important. In addition, more jobs workshops should be created to increase the employment opportunities available to ex-offenders. To improve the public confidence in them, we can consider cooperating with companies to provide these ex-offenders transitional careers as probationers, to start out them off for quite some time in order that they have relevant working experience, rather than merely skills acquiring in the rehabilitative programs. After the changeover period, these organizations can also help to recommend the employees to others.
Besides the complex skills attained from the support programs, the programmes should also focus on delicate skills such as social skills. These ex-convicts should also learn more about application writing and interview skills, as these can help them to advertise themselves well.
For the declaration of if the job applicant has been convicted in court before, we ought to further improve on the question such that it allows the ex-offender to declare they have convicted that offences as well as the 12 months of conviction. In cases like this, the employers advantage as they can take take note of the offences made, and become aware these are not damaging to the passions of the business and other stakeholders. This is because if the ex-offenders cause any troubles, the business would be the party that suffers the heaviest losses. Also, the work applicants gains from this as the employers are practising selective screening process rather than a total elimination. There's also cell phone calls to ban the declaration box. However, Personally i think that the employers are to protect their hobbies and the ex-offenders should be genuine and persuade the employers on their efforts to stay out of criminal offenses.
As observed above, usually the society gets the perspective that ex-offenders will probably revert back again to their old ways. Hence, it's important that we improve the rehabilitation programme to reduce the probability of such cases taking place. We need to remember that the restriction of the rehabilitation programs as decision to go back to old ways differs from the circumstances encountered by the ex-offenders.
If the alternatives proposed above are being implemented over a long-term basis, we're able to notice that less discrimination functions towards ex-offenders and the Singapore will move towards a more forgiving contemporary society.