“During an offender’s jail term, the punitive element of imprisonment should not overshadow its reformative aspect.” – Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, 2006

Singapore has a zero tolerance towards drugs. Drug trafficking carries a mandatory death sentence and drug abuse is a criminal offence that carries a jail sentence. Repeat drug offenders are subject to long prison sentences. In Singapore’s low crime environment, drug related offences account for 4646 out of a total of 6934 inmate population (2020 Singapore Prison Service Report).

Researchers Justin Lee and Fern Yu in a commentary published on Channel New Asia succinctly highlighted the issues with reintegration. They noted that the Singapore criminal justice system has taken the lead in showing willingness to ”forgive and forget”. There is a provision in place for those who were convicted of less serious crimes to have their criminal record spent if they stayed crime free for five years. Organisations like Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-offenders (CARE) Network, and the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) are set up to coordinate efforts of various organisations and to oversee employment and skills training respectively.

Research showed that predictors of reintegration includes the ex-offender making a personal choice to reintegrate, his age, having a vision and purpose in life, staying committed to change, having spirituality, having basic needs met, family support, access to employment, etc. While some of these factors are personal decisions that the individual has to make, some are structural factors that institutions and voluntary welfare organisations can contribute towards.