The first imprisonment is often a wake up call. Despite being a Headman of a gang, being incarcerated for the first time is a frightening experience. Stripped off the the bravado of the street gangs, the throngs of underlings, the Headman is just another inmate. Hence, the opportunity for reform is greatest at this point. Whye Kee was no exception. He decided to make use of his time in prison to upgrade himself. He enrolled in prison school and studied hard for his N levels and achieve fairly good results. Armed with an N-level qualification, he was full of hope for his new life when he was release.

However, he soon found that his prison record proved to be a great obstacle in his way. This is a plight face by many ex-offenders upon release from prison. Yellow Ribbon Singapore reported that about 9000 ex-offenders are released from Singapore’s Prison and Drug Rehabilitation Centre every year and a considerable number face uphill challenges as they try to turn over a new leaf.

Many ex-offenders liken that process as being release from a physical prison into a metaphorical prison where they are physically taken away from society but are still kept apart in a separate world. Failure at reintegration into society often lead to re-offending. Yellow Ribbon Singapore recognizes this problem and there has been campaigns to educate the public on acceptance, calling on the public to “help unlock the second prison”.

Organizations like The Industrial and Services Co-operative Society Ltd (ISCOS) serve to help unlock this prison through caring not just for ex-offenders but their families as well.