SINGAPORE, September 15, 2005 – More than 220 inmates went for job interviews today, all while still in prison. They were participating in the first Yellow Ribbon Job Fair, which was held in Changi Prison Cluster A. The fair was organized by the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-offenders (CARE) Network and the North East Community Development Council (CDC).
During the fair, the inmates, all of whom will soon complete their prison sentences, met 17 employers from various industries as well as three self-help groups. Apart from participating in interviews to secure jobs, they also learnt about the jobs that are available in selected industries and about the skills development programmes offered by the Chinese Development Assistance Council, Yayasan Mendaki, Eurasian Association and SINDA Career Link Centre. Ex-offenders who managed to do well in their jobs on their release from prisons also shared their experiences to inspire the inmates.
“These employers are commendable because by participating in this job fair, they have indicated that they are willing to give ex-offenders equal employment opportunities and a chance to contribute to society on their release from prison,” said Mr. Jason Wong, Chairman of the Yellow Ribbon Project Organising Committee and Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE).
“Many of the inmates and ex-offenders are equipped with employable skills and securing employment is a key part of the rehabilitation and reintegration process. It is also the first step inmates and ex-offenders take towards leading a crime and drug-free life,” he added.
An on-line job portal for inmates and ex-offenders was also launched at the job fair. The portal – SCORE’s latest initiative in facilitating the employment of ex-offenders – has been designed to allow them to search for suitable jobs without the need to travel to SCORE’s Employment Assistance Unit. Ex-offenders who are not familiar with online portals can approach their aftercare counsellors, family members and friends to help them conduct the job search. Employers keen to hire ex-offenders can also post job vacancies on the portal, which will match ex-offenders to the jobs according to their capabilities.
Said Ms. Penny Low, Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC & Vice-Chairman of North East CDC: “North East CDC decided to help bring a job fair to the prisons because the success of any rehabilitation programme lies in the hands of the community. Ex-offenders need a boost and a second chance from the community to help them stay on the right path. They are not the only ones who benefit from stable jobs, but their loved ones too. A more accepting society will help ex-offenders and their families to restart their lives together upon their release.”
Fifteen organizations and individuals who have collaborated with SCORE in facilitating the rehabilitation of inmates and ex-offenders by offering jobs and providing training were also commended today. These include Microsoft Singapore and the Singapore Buddhist Federation who received the SCORE Bridge of Hope Award for their commitment in helping inmates and their families. Microsoft Singapore worked with SCORE in its PC refurbishment project for needy families by donating 133 Windows XP licenses, while the Singapore Buddhist Federation pioneered a vegetarian cooking course, conducted by their volunteers, within prison walls.
On September 24, the North East CDC will be holding another job fair at the Punggol Community Club from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Employers at this job fair have indicated their support for the Yellow Ribbon Project and are willing to hire ex-offenders, backing the call to give ex-offenders a chance to contribute to society.
The Yellow Ribbon Job Fair is part of the Yellow Ribbon Project organised by the CARE Network to generate awareness of the difficulties ex-offenders and their families face and to call for community acceptance and action to support the reintegration of ex-offenders.
The yellow ribbon is a symbol of hope for some 11,000 ex-offenders released from the prison institutions and drug rehabilitation centres each year. Hand-made by inmates, each yellow ribbon also represents their determination to change and the desire to take greater ownership in the creation of a more accepting social environment that is willing to give them a chance to contribute to the community.
Note to Editors:
For more information about the Yellow Ribbon Project, please visit www.yellowribbon.org.sg
About the CARE Network
The Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network’s vision is to offer hope, confidence and opportunities for reforming offenders. The CARE Network brings together various community and government organisations responsible for the rehabilitation of reforming offenders. They are the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Singapore Prison Service (Prisons), Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE), National Council of Social Service (NCSS), Industrial and Services Co-operative Society Limited (ISCOS), Singapore After-Care Association (SACA) and Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA).
The secretariat support for CARE Network is provided by SCORE. CARE Network seeks to engage the community in the rehabilitation, coordinate member agencies’ activities and develop innovative rehabilitation initiatives for reforming offenders. For more information on CARE Network, please visit https://www.score.gov.sg/programmes-services/community-partnerships/care-network