SINGAPORE, 15 October 2020 – The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) launched its latest Captains of Lives (COL) campaign today. This campaign showcases the important work of prison officers and staff in ensuring the safe and secure custody of inmates, as well as their role alongside family members and the community, in rehabilitating and reintegrating inmates.
COL was first introduced in 1999. Since then, we have seen a distinct improvement in the two-year recidivism rate – from around 44 per cent for the 1998 release cohort to 24 per cent for the 2017 release cohort.
Today, SPS officers work alongside SPS civilian specialists who conduct psychological correctional programmes for inmates and supervise them in the community to support their reintegration. SPS has also strengthened its collaboration with the community over the years as partners in the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. There are more than 3,000 volunteers today, compared to 20 years ago when there were less than 200 volunteers.
As part of the new campaign, SPS launched a brand video, titled ‘The Test’, which traces the journey of an inmate who is struggling to cope with imprisonment, his role as a father, and an examination. The video shows how the prison officer’s support and encouragement for the inmate started a “ripple of good”, impacting the lives of the inmate and his family, and leading the inmate to embark on a new chapter in life.
“As COLs, we have a duty to ensure the safe and secure custody of inmates. We ‘lock’ them behind prison walls while they serve their sentences. This requires COLs to have a certain ‘steel’ in them. Yet, our greater purpose is in ‘unlocking’ – to unlock the potential of inmates, by preventing re-offending, and helping them to write a new chapter in their lives. This requires COLs to have the ‘heart’ and be guided by a strong sense of mission, purpose and persistence. We cannot do this alone, and we are grateful for the strong support of our volunteers and partners who work alongside us in unlocking the potential of our fellow Singaporeans for a safer Singapore,” said Commissioner of Prisons Shie Yong Lee.
Kwang Zhi Hao Sherman (Rehabilitation Officer 2, Housing Unit Officer, Institution A1), who played the lead role of the prison officer in the video, said: “Witnessing the positive change in inmates and understanding how my work as a COL can impact the lives of not just inmates but also their families, motivates me to do my job better every day. I hope that the video will give people a glimpse into the meaningful work of COLs and inspire them to join us in supporting inmates and ex-offenders in their new chapters of life.”
The COL video will be published on broadcast and digital platforms, alongside print and digital advertisements island-wide that also showcase the varied roles within SPS. Click here to find out more about COLs and watch the full video here.
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 offenders and rehabilitates them for a safe Singapore. SPS’ team of Captains of Lives – comprising uniformed officers and civilian staff – work closely with families of inmates, aftercare agencies, community partners and volunteers to steer offenders towards becoming responsible and contributing citizens.
With its world-class prison system, 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 offenders for a safer Singapore.