CARE Network Summit 2023: Desistance in the CommUNITY
Singapore, 27 July 2023 – Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and for Law joined around 400 professionals in the field of rehabilitation and aftercare at the Community Action for Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network Summit held at Fairmont Singapore this morning.
Themed “Desistance in the CommUNITY”, the event emphasized the need for the community to support ex-offenders in their reintegration journey towards long-term desistance from crime. Minister Shanmugam affirmed the CARE Network’s commitment towards aftercare for offenders, and its efforts to strengthen collaborations and build the competencies of community partners and volunteers. This was also the first time the Summit was conducted in a hybrid format with over 100 virtual attendees.
The CARE Network has made substantive progress in providing throughcare support for ex-offenders over the last year.
a. In January 2023, as part of its capability-building efforts, the CARE Network collaborated with the Singapore After-Care Association and Singapore University of Social Sciences to launch the “Correctional Landscape and Rehabilitation Approaches”, the first of several online courses for community partners and volunteers supporting the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders.
b. In April 2023, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) launched the Desistor Network, a collaborative initiative with community partners to enhance pro-social support for ex-offenders. The Yellow Ribbon Fund is providing financial support to co-fund ground-up pro-social activities and initiatives led by desistors.
c. Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) and Uniqlo announced a new partnership that helps ex-offenders build new narratives for themselves – that they are not only accepted and supported by society, but are also capable of giving hope to others. Under this partnership, members of the public donate their pre-loved Uniqlo clothing at Uniqlo stores. The Yellow Ribbon Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of YRSG that also hires ex-offenders, helps to process the donated clothes. Uniqlo then distributes the cleaned clothes to those who will benefit from them, including residents from Selarang Halfway House.
The Summit saw an exchange of knowledge, ideas and initiatives from practitioners and partners across the public, people and private sectors, to explore strategies to lower recidivism rates in Singapore.
“It is heartening to see an increasing number of organisations, volunteers and even desistors who share our vision and passion to better support ex-offenders in their reintegration journey and break the cycle of re-offending. Findings from a research study conducted by SPS involving ex-offenders who have desisted for more than 5 years showed that community support and positive relationships with volunteers help ex-offenders to sustain change. It helps them stay motivated during their desistance journey. Therefore, together with our partners, we strive to build a sustainable eco-system of support for ex-offenders when they return to the community. This will ultimately lower the recidivism rate even further and better protect society.” said Ms Shie Yong Lee, Commissioner of Prisons and Co-Chairperson of the CARE Network.
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About the CARE Network
The Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network was established in 2000 to coordinate aftercare rehabilitation and reintegration services. Guided by a Steering Committee comprising chairpersons and senior management from the ten core members, it was the first platform that brought community partners together to provide seamless throughcare support, from incare to aftercare, for ex-offenders.
Beyond the core members taking the lead in identifying and driving key priorities, successful reintegration of ex-offenders requires the wider system of community partners coming together to address issues from a multi-faceted perspective. To this end, the CARE Network organises annual events to share new developments and initiatives and encourage collaborations among the partners. Over the years, the Network has expanded to comprise over 100 community partners and supporters. This includes Social Service Agencies, religious groups, Family Service Centres, Halfway Houses and grassroots organisations.
Vision: Hope, Confidence and Opportunities for Ex-offenders
Our Core Members
• Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
• Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)
• Singapore Prison Service (SPS)
• Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG)
• National Council of Social Service (NCSS)
• Industrial & Services Co-Operative Society Ltd (ISCOS)
• Singapore After-Care Association (SACA)
• Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA)
• Yellow Ribbon Fund (YRF)
• NeuGen Fund