Singapore, August 13, 2008 – Singaporeans who have been crucial in helping ex-offenders successfully reintegrate into society will be honoured at this year’s Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP), organised by the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network. This year’s YRP focuses on how the actions of families, employers and the community are central in helping ex-offenders restart their lives as responsible and contributing members of society.
“We know that many ex-offenders have chosen to turn over a new leaf after getting into trouble with the law. They have demonstrated their commitment to their families and those who believed in them by returning to society employed and leading stable lives,” said Desmond Chin, CEO of Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE).
“The community's support for such individuals and their families is important in helping them to succeed. Beyond just words, we can also demonstrate our acceptance by hiring an ex-offender, or simply wearing a yellow ribbon as a symbol of our support,” he added.
The CARE Network is organising a series of activities this year for the public to demonstrate their support of deserving ex-offenders. In addition to wearing a yellow ribbon in September, the public can also volunteer their time and expertise in suitable rehabilitation programmes, and even adopt art pieces created by inmates.
Director of Prisons Ng Joo Hee said, “The YRP’s ultimate goal is to build a safer Singapore through reducing offending and re-offending rates. Constant evaluation of the effectiveness of current rehabilitation and reintegration programmes is necessary to guide ex-offenders with valuable ways to rebuild their lives and become responsible citizens.”
“Combined with support from families, employers and the community, the YRP can contribute to a safer and more secure nation,” he added.
The CARE Network constantly reviews the various rehabilitation programmes over the past four years to ensure that they remain relevant to the needs of today’s ex-offenders. Further, the CARE Network also engages community partners and employers in creating an inclusive environment where ex-offenders can contribute at work and to society.
Chairman of SCORE Kong Mun Kwong said, “It is imperative that Singaporeans are ready to accept ex-offenders who have received proper guidance through rehabilitation and are committed to being responsible citizens. The process of reintegration for ex-offenders can be expedited if everyone plays a part, even if by simply participating in the YRP activities.”
Some of the community activities this year include:
- Celebrating 2nd Chances (6 September)
Family members, volunteers and employers will be honoured at this ceremony for their support of ex-offenders. Ex-offenders who have stayed crime- and drug-free for a sustained period will also be given due recognition.
- Yellow Ribbon Concert: Celebrating 2nd Chances (6 September)
The concert, hosted by Mark Lee and Tan Kheng Hua, features celebrities such as Wakin, Dick Lee, Aliff Aziz and Mi Lu Bing. Ex-offenders will join them in song and dance performances, as well as share their testimonies of overcoming various challenges after their release from prison.
- Yellow Ribbon Conference (8-9 September)
By providing a platform for like-minded professionals to come together to discuss and leverage rehabilitation opportunities and best practices, the conference aims to provide suggestions to enhance current rehabilitation programmes.
- Our Crossroads (12-14 September)
Our Crossroads is an exhibition to raise awareness for the support of ex-offenders. The exhibition outlines the journey which an inmate has to go through to succeed at rebuilding his life during his incarceration and after his release.
- Yellow Ribbon Community Art Exhibition (20-23 November)
All 30 creations from the Yellow Ribbon Art Competition finals and other outstanding entries will be showcased at a Community Art Exhibition. These pieces will be available for adoption by the public.