Ms Sylvia Lim asked the Minister for Home Affairs regarding education and re-skilling programmes available to prisoners (a) whether there are any capacity constraints for such programmes that result in waiting lists; (b) on what basis are inmates prioritised in the event of capacity limits for these programmes; and (c) whether inmates serving long sentences such as life imprisonment or 20 years or more, are able to access such programmes at their discretion during their incarceration or whether these opportunities are offered towards the tail end of their imprisonment terms.
Mr K Shanmugam: Education and skills training programmes are provided to inmates by the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG).
Admission to these programmes is based on considerations such as whether the inmates (including inmates serving long sentences) meet the minimum entry requirements to undertake the programmes, their general conduct, medical condition as well as their interest and willingness to attend the programmes.
The inmates also need to have sufficient duration of incarceration period left to cover most, if not all of the curriculum while still in prison. An inmate who has only weeks to a few months left before release will thus not be suitable to be emplaced on education programmes.
Currently, there is sufficient capacity in SPS and YRSG’s programmes. Inmates who were not emplaced on the programmes, were those who did not meet the admission considerations.
Ministry of Home Affairs
1 August 2022