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Correctional Research Application

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The Research Request

Researchers who wish to conduct research in the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) may email a research request to SPS_research_requests@pris.gov.sg. Please include the following information in your research request:

  • Brief overview of your study (max 500 words): background, research question, methodology, sample
  • Contact details: Name, institution.

After preliminary approval, you’ll be required to submit a full research proposal. For more information on conducting research in SPS, please refer to the following documents:

  1. Research Request Process (PDF, 217KB)
  2. Research Proposal Guidelines (PDF, 347KB)
  3. Researcher’s Manual (Instruction Manual and Ethics) (PDF, 745KB)

Basic Requirements

Research conducted within SPS should fulfil the following:

Research Aims and Methodology

  • The aims of the research study must adhere to the Vision, Mission and Objectives of SPS.
  • The research study must uphold the rights, safety, and well-being of research participants.
  • The research study must be methodologically sound with a clear and logical design.
  • Findings from the research study must benefit SPS or further academic knowledge.

Professional Ethics

  • Researchers must understand the limits of confidentiality. The researcher’s disclosure of official information may be mandated to prevent known danger to participants or to others or due to legal requirements.
  • Researchers must store all data securely and ensure that the data is coded in a way that maintains the confidentiality and anonymity of research participants.
  • Illegal and unwarranted disclosures of confidential information to inmates must be avoided.

Considerations for Conducting Research in SPS

  • The researcher must be aware of and accommodate the constraints of conducting research in a prison/forensic setting.
  • Researchers must abide by the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and maintain the confidentiality of all information acquired through the course of research with SPS. Releasing confidential information without the prior approval of SPS is considered a breach of the OSA and is a chargeable offence.
  •  SPS holds the right to restrict circulation of the final research report if it is found to contain sensitive information. If the removal/rectification of such information is not possible or affects the intellectual contribution of the researcher, SPS will place an embargo on the research paper. Under the embargo, the researcher must not publish or disseminate the research paper through any platform without the expressed approval of SPS, other than the distribution of a thesis for grading purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long will it take for my request to be approved?

  • Depending on the type of research and the sensitivity of information requested, the entire approval process may take up to 2 months.

2. How many days will it take to hear from us after submission?

  • The researcher may be contacted for clarification and will be notified of the outcome within 14 working days from the last email correspondence. Successful applicants will be asked to submit a full research proposal for a thorough evaluation.

3. What is the research request process?

  • First, the researcher submits a research request via SPS research request generic email account (SPS_research_requests@pris.gov.sg).  Second, upon approval of the topic, the researcher submits a full research proposal. Third, upon approval of the proposal, the researcher is required to attend a briefing session prior to the data collection. An assigned SPS research coordinator facilitates the researcher’s data collection within prisons. Fourth, upon completion of research study, the researcher submits the completed research paper for vetting by SPS prior to submission or publications.

    Please refer to the research request process and researcher’ manual in this website for more details

4. What will the liaison for each data collection be like?

  • A Research Officer from Singapore Prisons Service will be the point of liaison for all data collection sessions. This Research Officer will be in charge of all administrative arrangements with the institutions such as time and date of each data collection. Once the session is confirmed, the Research Officer will send an email to you with the details.

5. What measures will be in place to ensure personal safety when interacting (e.g. interview, data collection) with inmates?

  • For high risk inmates, the interview or data collection session can be conducted using the interview rooms which have a glass panel separating the inmate and the interviewer. The inmate can also be handcuffed if the need arises.

    There are a number of closed-circuit security cameras around the institution and a prison officer will be present or on patrol near the area to ensure any visitor’s safety. Lastly, shrill alarms and emergency call buttons are available should you need to summon assistance.

6. Are there any rules that I have to observe when I am conducting research in Prisons?

  • Researchers are required to dress conservatively when entering the institution. Researchers in revealing clothes will not be allowed to proceed with their data collection. Researchers are not allowed to bring in any items that are not related to the data collection session. These includes, but are not limited, to cash, keys, mobile phones and water bottles. These items must be stored in a locker at the entrance to the institution. Researchers are also expected to behave in a professional manner throughout their time in the institution. More details will be provided once the studies have been approved. Please refer to the instruction manual Pg. 9 to 12 for more details.


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Last Updated/Reviewed on 09 February 2018