UPDATE ON EFFORTS OF THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON PREVENTION, REHABILITATION AND RECIDIVISM
Mr. Murali Pillai asked the Minister for Social and Family Development whether he can provide an update on the efforts of the National Committee on Prevention, Rehabilitation and Recidivism (NCPR) set up in 2018 to prevent offending, re-offending and enhance rehabilitation of offenders to date and how these have contributed to lower offending and recidivism.
Mr. Masagos Zulkifli B M M: The National Committee on Prevention, Rehabilitation and Recidivism (NCPR) was set up in April 2018 to oversee national efforts to prevent offending and re-offending, and enhance the rehabilitation of offenders. It comprises representatives from Government agencies and community partners.
The NCPR has spearheaded several key initiatives since its inception. The Localised Community Network (LCN) was piloted in 2019, to provide support for children and youth with complex family circumstances or those who exhibited at-risk behaviours. This initiative involves schools, community agencies and other partners sharing information to facilitate the early identification of risks and needs and coordinating timely and holistic support for these children or youth and their families. Thus far, the pilot has supported over 120 students and their families. The LCN pilot complements the comprehensive system in schools to support students. This includes programmes to strengthen students’ engagement in school and address absenteeism issues early, to prevent long-term absenteeism and dropping out of schools.
To support youth offenders who are discharged from MSF Youth Homes, post-care support has been extended from two months to one year, to better support them as they transition back to living in the community. Post-care officers provide guidance to these youths, helping to sustain and reinforce the skills learnt and habits formed during their stay in the Homes. Post-care officers also collaborate with key stakeholders, families and volunteers to monitor the youths’ progress and ensure they remain meaningfully engaged (e.g. in school, training, or employment). The extended post-care support commenced in 2019 with a small group of youths discharged from the Homes, but has been extended to all youths discharged from MSF Youth Homes since February 2021.
NCPR has also introduced programmes to enhance support for children and families impacted by incarceration. In October 2020, Singapore Prison Service (SPS) worked with MSF to strengthen case coordination and information exchange between the Family Service Centres (FSCs) and SPS to enable offenders’ families to receive timely support from FSCs and community partners. Under this initiative, SPS systematically identifies newly admitted inmates whose families need more support, including families with young children. With their consent, the families are referred to the FSC nearest to their residence so that social workers can assess their needs and develop support plans for these families, where needed.
The efforts of Government agencies and community partners, including those of the NCPR, have contributed to a lower rate of offending and re-offending. The number of youth offenders1 has decreased by 43.3% from 4,174 in 2010 to 2,3672 in 2020. The overall two-year recidivism rate for offenders has also fallen from 27.3% for the cohort released in 2008, to 22.1% for the cohort released in 2018.
The NCPR will continue to work closely with its partners, to deal with emerging areas of concern, and enhance preventive and rehabilitative interventions for the at-risk and offender populations.
1 Youth offenders refer to those arrested for overall crime excluding drug and inhalant abuse, and aged 7 to 19 years.
2 2020 figures for youth arrested for outrage of modesty and rape offences are provisional at the point of this reply.