Employment Preparation Scheme

In news relevant to employers as it concerns inmates‘ employability outcomes, inmates will be allowed to undergo skills training and education in addition to working in the community.

Singapore has cleared some key amendments to the Prisons Act to take effect from 2 September 2022, namely, these efforts are geared towards enhancing community corrections; and facilitating the Singapore Prison Service (SPS)’s operations and administration.

In news that is relevant to employers as it concerns inmates‘ employability outcomes, a new scheme called the Employment Preparation Scheme (EmPS) will replace the Work Release Scheme (WRS). Under this programme, inmates will be allowed to undergo skills training and education in addition to working in the community.

"Skills training and education will enhance the inmates’ employability," stated the Ministry of Home Affairs in its announcement.

In the second reading of Prisons (Amendment) Bill, Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, shared some data on the schemes so far. From 2016 to 2020, 997 inmates were placed on the WRS, and 90% of them successfully completed the programme.

Per the existing law, the WRS only allows inmates to be released for work. Inmates on WRS are unable to participate in educational or training activities. The new EmPS will allow inmates to undergo skills training and education in the community, thus complementing the work programmes and skills training provided by SPS and Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) in prison.

The EmPS will adopt a step-down approach to gradually ease inmates back into the society:

a. Emplacement starts with the in-camp phase where eligible and suitable inmates serve the tail-end of their imprisonment sentence in a work release centre administered by SPS. The inmates may work, upskill themselves through training, or pursue their education, outside prison during the day. They will return to reside at the work release centre in the evening.

b. Inmates who show good progress during the in-camp phase will be permitted to move on to the weekend home leave phase, during which they can return to their place of residence during the weekends.

c. If inmates continue to demonstrate good progress during the weekend home leave phase, they can return to their place of residence daily after work, classes, or training, under the long home leave phase.

To be eligible for the EmPS, inmates must have served at least 14 days of imprisonment and the Commissioner must consider them suitable for the programme. Factors such as their progress and response to rehabilitation, family support, and risk of re-offending will be considered.

All eligible inmates will be assessed by SPS for their suitability, as well as submitted to an independent advisory committee appointed by the Minister for Home Affairs, which will review the cases and make its recommendations to the Commissioner. 

Inmates on the EmPS will be under SPS’s supervision and will receive support for their reintegration. Besides requiring the inmates to be employed, undergo skills training or education, inmates will be subjected to conditions such as electronic monitoring, mandatory reporting, and curfew hours. These conditions are similar to the existing conditions for the HDS and External Placement Scheme (EPS).

Further amendments are expected to take effect at a later date. More details will be announced separately. 


Lead image / Shutterstock

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!