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Singapore Prison Service ‘Captains of Lives’ Campaign

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SINGAPORE, 17 February 2022 – Today, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) released ‘In His Footsteps’, the final short film in a three-part series, as part of its Captains of Lives (COLs) campaign. The campaign showcases the important work of Prison Officers and other prison staff – also known as COLs – in ensuring the safe and secure custody of inmates, and their role alongside family members and the community in rehabilitating and reintegrating inmates.

Since the introduction of COLs in 1999, there has been a significant improvement in the two-year recidivism rate – from around 44 per cent for the 1998 release cohort to 20 per cent for the 2019 release cohort, one of the lowest internationally.

Today, Prison Officers work alongside civilian specialists who conduct evidence-based correctional programmes for inmates, and supervise them in the community to support their reintegration. As of 31 December 2021, the number of inmates on community corrections programmes was 3,402 – a 41 per cent increase from 2019.

Centered on the theme of ‘Steps’, SPS’s three-part film series brings viewers through different stages of an offender’s reintegration journey – from incarceration to post-release – highlighting the instrumental role that COLs play in every step of an offender’s journey of change. The first film, ‘Eighteen Steps’, depicts the struggles an inmate faces as he comes to terms with his mistakes and how he eventually picks up the courage to rebuild his life with the support of a Prison Officer and his family. The second film, ‘Step Forward’, depicts his journey of reintegration into the community, as he overcomes challenges with the support of his Reintegration Officer. The last film, ‘In His Footsteps’, released today, illustrates a COL’s ripple-effect of good, where his advice not only guides the inmate to change for the better, but also inspires the inmate’s son to be more forgiving.

SGT Yang Zile Kenneth, a Prison Officer working at Institution B4, Cluster B, who played the lead Prison Officer in the series, said: “Successful rehabilitation starts from within – the inmate needs to make a conscious decision to want to change for the better. Much of my work as a COL is geared towards encouraging such change through programmes that help inmates understand themselves better, learn coping mechanisms, and plan for a renewed life after release. Knowing that my advice and support makes a difference to the inmate and also his family gives me a sense of fulfilment, and motivates me to do my best every day.”

“Our COLs vision is for the impact and actions of our staff to ripple outwards to inmates, their families and the community, ultimately contributing to a safer Singapore. A key focus area for SPS to achieve this is through enhancing our community corrections efforts, to supervise more offenders safely in the community to better support their reintegration and prevent re-offending,” said Director for the Corporate Communications & Relations Division, AC Rafidah Suparman. “As part of this strategy, we continue to upskill our officers so they are well-equipped to motivate inmates and support them and their families after release.”

As part of the campaign, print advertisements showcasing Prison Officers have also been launched island-wide.

Click here to find out more about COLs and watch the three-part series here.

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About the Singapore Prison Service (SPS)

As an agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs and a key member of the Home Team, SPS enforces the secure custody of inmates and rehabilitates them for a safer Singapore. SPS’s team of Captains of Lives – comprising uniformed officers and civilian staff – works closely with inmates, their family, aftercare agencies, community partners and volunteers. The Captains of Lives inspire and steer inmates to take ownership of their rehabilitation and be responsible and contributing citizens.

SPS was awarded the Singapore Quality Award with Special Commendation in 2012 and 2019 – a recognition of its dedication to the secure custody and effective rehabilitation of inmates.


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