Singapore, September 6, 2008 – Two hundred eighty ex-offenders received achievement awards today, in recognition of their success in leading crime-free lives and becoming contributing members of society after their release from prison. The Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP) also honoured 20 employers and community partners who have offered ex-offenders jobs and supported their training, thereby facilitating their reintegration into society.
The Yellow Ribbon Celebrating 2nd Chances Awards Ceremony, which is in its third year, specifically recognises ex-offenders who have enhanced their skill or education levels, kept themselves gainfully employed, and in doing so, have contributed to their families and society. Beyond just words, they have established solid foundations to earn the community’s trust.
“We want to recognise the group of ex-offenders who have succeeded in rebuilding their lives so as to encourage others who are still in the process of gaining acceptance from their families and employers,” said Mr Achuthappa K, Divisional Manager, Community and Vocational Rehab Division, Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE). “Ex-offenders should meet the benchmarks set by this group of award winners because they have proven that it is possible to turn their lives around and earn the support from people around them.”
YRP 2008 focuses on how different groups of people can come together to contribute to the successful reintegration of ex-offenders. For instance, Mr Joseph Goh, General Manager of Roadmaster Courier has nominated two of his employees in recognition of their commitment to their work and efforts to stay crime-free. Roadmaster Courier is one of the 1,700 employers in SCORE’s job bank, who have indicated their willingness to give ex-offenders a second chance.
“Employers can do their part to help ex-offenders too especially since employment is often the first step to a crime- and drug-free life. Further, many ex-offenders are also equipped with employable skills, and giving them suitable jobs not only advances their reintegration process, it also adds value to our businesses,” said Employer Appreciation Award winner Mr Francis Ho, Director of Communication Cube, who has employed ex-offenders for the past three years.
Many ex-offenders have taken ownership of their reintegration process and have also shown their appreciation of receiving second chances by giving back to society through volunteering or by offering second chances to other ex-offenders. Outstanding Achievement Award winner Shah (not his real name) has successfully stayed crime-free for more than 20 years and has also hired other ex-offenders.
“I know that my acceptance by my loved ones and the community begins with my commitment to stay out of trouble. When I was released, I also knew that I needed to show the community that I had the skills and determination to keep my job and contribute to my family,” said Shah. “I made a mistake and now I want to make the most of what I have and help other ex-offenders as well.”