Singapore Prison Service spotlights the role of prison officers

The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) launched a new version of its “Captains of Lives” campaign to showcase the important work of prison officers and staff in ensuring the safe and secure custody of inmates. The campaign also highlights their role alongside family members and the community, in rehabilitating and reintegrating inmates.

The “Captains of Lives” campaign was first introduced in 1999. Since then, it claims to have seen a distinct improvement in the two-year recidivism rate – from around 44% for the 1998 release cohort to 24% for the 2017 release cohort.

As part of the new campaign, the Singapore Prison Service launched a brand video, titled “The Test”, which traces the journey of an inmate who is struggling to cope with imprisonment, his role as a father, and an examination. The video shows how the prison officer’s support and encouragement for the inmate started a ripple of good, impacting the lives of the inmate and his family, and leading the inmate to embark on a new chapter in life.

The video will be published on broadcast and digital platforms, alongside print and digital advertisements island-wide that also showcase the varied roles within SPS.

Today, the Singapore Prison Service officers work alongside civilian specialists who conduct psychological correctional programmes for inmates and supervise them in the community to support their reintegration. The Singapore Prison Service has also strengthened its collaboration with the community over the years as partners in the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. There are more than 3,000 volunteers today, compared to 20 years ago when there were less than 200 volunteers.

“As captains of lives, we have a duty to ensure the safe and secure custody of inmates. We ‘lock’ them behind prison walls while they serve their sentences. This requires [them] to have a certain ‘steel’. Yet, our greater purpose is in ‘unlocking’ – to unlock the potential of inmates, by preventing re-offending, and helping them to write a new chapter in their lives. This requires COLs to have the ‘heart’ and be guided by a strong sense of mission, purpose and persistence. We cannot do this alone, and we are grateful for the strong support of our volunteers and partners who work alongside us in unlocking the potential of our fellow Singaporeans for a safer Singapore,” said commissioner of prisons Shie Yong Lee.