ROLE OF A PRISON VOLUNTEER
Why do we want to engage volunteers in our Rehabilitation Efforts?
Prisons recognises that the community including volunteers and non-government organisations have important roles to play in the rehabilitation and re-integration of ex-offenders. Volunteers bring with them their expertise in the various fields, and impart their knowledge to the offenders through the various programmes / activities. Being in the community, the volunteers can also help to link the released offenders back to the community, facilitating the reintegration process.
Where does the Volunteer fit in this process?
Prison volunteers come in to work with the offenders, in the areas of religious programmes and services, social programmes, academic and enrichment programmes. Volunteers are also one of the sources of pro-social support for the released offenders in the community.
AREAS YOU CAN VOLUNTEER IN
Religious Programmes and Services
Volunteers and organisations have an important role to play in the provision of religious-based programmes and in assisting the offender’s integration back into society. Spiritual guidance facilitates in the offender's rehabilitation. It provides the necessary emotional and mental support for offenders to cope with life's experiences. Spiritual support also forms an important aspect of offenders' psychological well-being. It can give them the mental strength to maintain a positive outlook in life. The religious services are provided by volunteers from the following various religious organisations such as FITRAH (En-Naeem Mosque), Prison Fellowship Singapore, Roman Catholic Prison Ministry, Sikh Welfare Council, Singapore Buddhist Federation, and The Hindu Centre.
Enrichment and Academic Programmes
We have a wide range of non-religious activities, running the gamut from enrichment programmes, academic tutoring to family-based activities that volunteers can contribute to.
Realising the importance of equipping offenders with the relevant skills to ensure their successful reintegration upon release, organizations and volunteers are engaged to provide skills training and workshops on a voluntary basis.
Programmes such as anger and emotion management, financial planning, and speech craft provide the necessary skill sets, positive habits and social values to offenders, so as to augment the rehabilitation efforts and allow effective i.e. Integration into the society.
Offenders are given opportunities to advance their educational qualifications, so that they can strive to be responsible and contributing citizens upon their release. Support from individual volunteers in terms of supervising or tutoring offenders in their weakest subjects is important. This will improve offenders to achieve academic success. Volunteers not only help offenders academically, but also provide the encouragement and motivation by acting as mentors and friends.
An offender needs a network of pro-social peers that encompasses friends, mentors and befrienders, to support his reintegration efforts.
We welcome passionate individuals to sign up as a befriender. Volunteers will foster a meaningful befriending relationship with the offenders in prison and continue to offer moral and pro-social support to offenders after their release, thus preparing offenders for reintegration into the society. The befriending programme would require 16-month commitment as the Befriender would befriend the offender of up to 10 months before his release (incare) and continue to befriend the offender of up to 6 months after release (aftercare).
Yellow Ribbon Community Project (YRCP)
Families of offenders and ex-offenders play important roles in their rehabilitation and reintegration process. To many of them, their families have been a major source of motivation for them to change their ways. In addition, families can also provide ex-offenders with the financial and social support that these individuals need, while they pick up their lives after release from prisons. Enhancing support given to families of offenders can reduce re-offending and help prevent intergenerational patterns of incarceration.
The Yellow Ribbon Community Project (YRCP) was introduced to provide community support and assistance to families of offenders through grassroots organisations. This grassroots-led initiative provides support to families of incarcerated persons, help stabilises the families as they cope with the uncertainties arising from the incarceration of the offenders. It also sends a message to the offender that the community is also proactively providing support to his family and that he could focus on his rehabilitation and reintegration.