SPS YRSG Corporate Advance 2022
SPS-YRSG Corporate Advance 2022: Celebrating Transformation and Community Partnerships in the Rehabilitation of Inmates
Singapore, 17 June 2022 - The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) showcased key workplan initiatives at the annual SPS-YRSG Corporate Advance today.
The hybrid event was held at the SPS Headquarters and graced by over 500 key stakeholders and community partners, including representatives from halfway houses and social service agencies.
In his opening address, Guest-of-Honour Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, highlighted the collective efforts of SPS, YRSG and their partners to reduce the two-year recidivism rate, which is among the lowest in the world at 20% for the 2019 release cohort. Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim also said that the next target for SPS and YRSG is to bring down the five-year recidivism rate, which is currently around 40%. To achieve this, SPS and YRSG will need even stronger support from the community and partners to build sustainable support structures to support the reintegration of ex-offenders, and uplift them and their families.
Besides showcasing upcoming workplans to enhance operational capabilities and throughcare support for inmates, ex-offenders and their families, this year’s Corporate Advance, themed ‘Together – Transforming Corrections, Uplifting Lives’, also saw the launch of two key initiatives by SPS and YRSG.
Launch of SPS Heritage Gallery
The SPS Heritage Gallery was officially unveiled at today’s event by Minister of State Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.
Sited at the SPS headquarters, the SPS Heritage Gallery features four zones which document the progression of the corrections landscape in Singapore from the 1800s till present day. The gallery showcases the transformation of SPS from a custodial to a leading correctional agency, and pays tribute to the contributions of earlier generations of Captains of Lives.
The gallery showcases a collection of archival photos and artefacts, some of which date back to pre-Second World War, such as the Changi Prison clock and bell. Visitors can immerse themselves in exhibits illustrating pre-wartime conditions, learn about the challenges of early custodial duties and understand how SPS has evolved over the years in strengthening its operational and rehabilitative capabilities. The gallery also documents the formation of the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network in 2000, the launch of the Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP) in 2004 and their efforts in mobilising community action to provide second chances to ex-offenders and their families.
Commissioner of Prisons, Ms Shie Yong Lee, said: “The SPS Heritage Gallery showcases the rich history of prisons in Singapore, from Singapore’s first purpose-built prison to extending corrections beyond the prison walls today. Our transformation has been possible because of our committed Captains of Lives, past and present, who together with our passionate community partners and volunteers, walk alongside our inmates as they rebuild their lives.”
There are also plans for the gallery to be opened to students through curated tours by 2023 as part of national and preventive education to create awareness on the prison environment and the work of Captains of Lives. This will mark the first time that heritage artefacts, such as the Outram Prison cage door from 1882 and a night duty journal used by prison warders from the 1950s that spans over 20 years, are revealed. Visitors can also hear directly from retired SPS officers, who will walk-through the gallery exhibits and share first-hand recounts of their experiences working in prison. These help to convey the trials and challenges experienced by our prison officers in their early days and trace the evolution of prisons in Singapore to the present day.
Rehabilitation Officer (Ret.) David Simon, a retired prison officer and docent during the Heritage Gallery launch, said: “As someone who had witnessed the growth of SPS since the 1980s, I am honoured to stand here today to share my stories. My hope for the current and subsequent generations of Captains of Lives is that they will continue to embrace the lessons of the past, and build on the progress of the present, to shape a more inclusive and safer society for tomorrow.”
Friends of YRSG
YRSG also launched the “Friends of YRSG” Telegram channel today, expanding the avenues for YRSG’s stakeholders and like-minded individuals to connect and inspire one another as advocates of second chances.
The Telegram channel offers a personal platform for advocates to keep in touch with YRSG and stay updated with the latest news, volunteering opportunities and events. This aims to strengthen the community of advocates offering second chances and spark a positive chain reaction to build a nation beyond second chances.
Together, SPS and YRSG will forge ahead in their correctional efforts and seek the continued trust of and partnerships from the community, in preventing re-offending for a safer Singapore.
Singapore Prison Service
17 June 2022