Almost 9 in 10 Singaporeans aware of aims of Yellow Ribbon Project
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 08 September 2008 1618 hrs
SINGAPORE: Almost nine in 10 Singaporeans can tell you what the Yellow Ribbon Project is all about, according to a public perception survey in 2007.
Speaking at a related conference, Law and Second Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said that more Singaporeans can now identify the aims of the project.
The Yellow Ribbon Project was started in 2004, with an aim to systematically bring ex-offenders back into society.
Since then, 560 new employers have also registered to offer jobs for ex-offenders.
Mr Shanmugam explained that Singapore’s Prisons Service recognises that without successful rehabilitation, the offender may simply return to a life of crime and continue to pose a threat to society.
Therefore, the Prisons Department needs to strike a right balance between rehabilitation and punishment.
As for inmates who have worked hard to be rehabilitated, Mr Shanmugam said they deserve a second chance from the community.
Unlocking the Second Prison Since 2004
“Launched in 2004 by the President of the Republic of Singapore Mr S R Nathan, the Yellow Ribbon Project seeks to engage the community in accepting ex-offenders and their families, giving them a second chance at life and to inspire a ripple effect of concerted community action to support ex-offenders and their families.
Every year, more than 9,000 ex-offenders complete their sentences and are released from the various prisons and drug rehabilitation centres (DRCs). It is disheartening that ex-offenders have to live with the stigma of having served time behind bars when they are released from prison, one that can often be more punishing than the prison sentence itself. Many ex-offenders, once released, find themselves literally stepping into a second prison. This time it would be a prison with invisible bars, of suspicion, of mistrust and of discrimination.
The best rehabilitation regime during incarceration is of no use if ex-offenders find themselves rejected at every turn when they are released into the larger community. Through the Yellow Ribbon Project, we hope to promote a more accepting society, one that is willing to give ex-offenders a second chance at making good. It is important that we help unlock the second prison for our inmates, even as we let them out of the physical one.
Rehabilitative and aftercare programmes are the supporting mechanisms to facilitate the reintegration of an individual back to the community and his family. Nevertheless, these efforts alone will not be adequate in the long run. The community plays an important part in helping to create a stable social environment where amenable ex-offenders and their families can feel a sense of belonging and find the hope to start afresh.
Hence, there was a need for a concerted and coordinated approach towards creating awareness, generating acceptance and inspiring action within the community.”
Record Turnout for Yellow Ribbon 6K Fun Run
September 18, 2011
SINGAPORE: A record number of runners took part in the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run on Sunday as part of efforts to help ex-offenders start afresh.
About 9,000 took part, making it the highest number of runners since the event was started three years ago.
They went past the old Changi Prison Gate into the new Changi Prison Complex and were greeted at the end point by a carnival, along with song performances and prison art exhibition featuring original artworks by reforming inmates.
Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports and Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Major-General (NS)Chan Chun Sing flagged off the 10-kilometre competitive race before joining runners for the 6km fun run.
He also launched the Yellow Ribbon Project 2011 campaign.
A total of S$731,000 has been raised this year for the Yellow Ribbon Fund.
Chairman of the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run Organising Committee, Kevin Hoon, said: “We are glad that more than 9,000 runners turned up to show their support for ex-offenders who have demonstrated a willingness to change.
“After release, many ex-offenders step into a second, social and psychological ‘prison’, the key to which is in the hands of family, friends, neighbours, employers and the community at large.”
Three Generations of Prison Volunteers
Volunteering in prison is a family affair for the Gohs, led by 84-year-old Goh Ewe Kheng, who has spent the last fifty years ministering to inmates. Watch as the elder Mr. Goh, his son and grandson share what makes volunteering behind bars so special to this family.
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Yellow Ribbon a Soft Spot in A Draconian State
Human rights advocates are not often found speaking highly of Singapore’s penal system. It is widely known for its mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, and its per capita incarceration remains near the top of the national rankings, though far below the U.S. levels. Not where you’d expect to a find an emphatic program on the second chance. This background makes the Yellow Ribbon project all the more intriguing. For a startling angle on this darker side of Singapore, watch this excellent short documentary on the Yong Vui Kong case.
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