More Singapore employers support hiring of ex-offenders

Percentage of inmates securing jobs rises in 2023: survey

More Singapore employers support hiring of ex-offenders

The number of employers that support the hiring of ex-offenders in Singapore went up to 6,516 in 2023, according to data from the Singapore Prison Service (SPS).

This is an increase from the previous 6,265 in 2022 and 5,634 in 2021, indicating a rising trend of organisations supporting the employment of former offenders.

SPS said it is working closely with Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) to put more premium on the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders in order to keep recidivism, or the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend, low.

YRSG is a statutory board under the Ministry of Home Affairs that is aims to cut down the recidivism rate through upskilling, career development, and building an aftercare support network.

According to SPS data, the percentage of inmates who secured a job prior to their release upon referral to YRSG increased to 94% in 2023, up from the 93% a year prior.

"Ex-offenders who secure jobs through YRSG will receive up to 12 months of career retention support from its career coaches, including regular engagements at their workplace to set behavioural goals and to monitor their progress at work," the SPS said in its annual statistics release.

YRSG's career coaches will also work closely with employers and supervisors to help them understand and assist the challenges faced by ex-offenders at work, it added.

Upskilling ex-offenders

Meanwhile, the number of trained inmates reached 4,046 in 2023, with an average of 80 training hours per inmate, according to the SPS.

This is also an increase from the previous year, which had a total of 3,740 inmates trained with an average of 64 training hours per individual.

The training is part of YRSG's commitment to preparing inmates and ex-offenders for their career, according to the SPS.

"Prior to release or community programme emplacement, YRSG career specialists initiate career conversations to assess their interests and aspirations, evaluate job requirements, and match them with suitable opportunities," it noted.

In 2023, Singapore has a total of 10,704 offenders, including 8,009 incare and 2,695 under community corrections.

The escape rate per 10,000 inmate population was at zero, according to the SPS, while the assault rate per 10,000 inmate population declined to 41.4 in 2023.

The two-year recidivism rate for the 2021 release group is at 22%, while the five-year recidivism rate is at its lowest at 36.8% for the 2018 release cohort.

"SPS and YRSG will continue to work with volunteers and community partners, employers, families, and other government agencies to strengthen the eco-system of support in the community to tackle drug recidivism," the SPS said.

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