Can you imagine being constantly punished by others for something you did? For something you paid for already? For something you wish people will just forgive you for?
No one would want to have 1 mistake define them for the rest of their lives,then why do they do it to others? In Singapore , people are looked down upon solely because they are ex convicts. It’s bad enough that people are looking down at you just because of a mistake you made. It’s worst that they won’t give you a chance solely because of that. I understand that they may have trust issues, but what if that man, with all those wonderful qualities, you turned away was you?
Coming out from a life of 4 walls and into a world full of nasty people is truly hard. In fact ex convicts are 13 times more likely to die, in the first week they are out, than the general public. This is because of being unadjusted to the “out of the 4 walls” life. Many do not understand this struggle they go through. The struggle of coping with the outside world , after being isolated for so long. They feel worst because they feel alone in places filled with people. They don’t even have a job to socialize with a few people. This is also makes things worst when they are not able to support themselves financially.
Thankfully Ex-Convicts in Singapore are a little more blessed. Tai (2014) alerts us on how the employment rate for ex convicts have risen from 37 percent to 60 in about 4 years. That is amazing.
This is because of the few social enterprises looking out for them. There are 2 that I would love to point out. I think almost everyone knows Eighteen Chefs. One of the most well known social enterprises out there. They have 9 outlets throughout Singapore, providing so many job opportunities for ex convicts. They believe that ” (b)y providing them with a safe and non-judgemental working environment, we believe that we are giving them a chance to also work on their recovery through this unity of bond, which will eventually allow them to find a better and happier path in life. ” (2015). That is precisely what they need, to feel comfortable and be integrated slowly into the society. This enables them to know how to behave in a work environment and to interact with others.
The second one is Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE). They provide training & employment assistance , Community partnership & aftercare and Business enterprises. Similar to 18 Chefs, they provide work experience. They enhance them by providing them with skills to upgrade and integrate themselves steadily into the society.
However, I have to point out that just because the numbers have increased or more enterprises are set up to empower them, it doesn’t mean that they are fully accepted yet. Mistakes made are in the past. We should enable them to learn and move on from it, instead of drown in it.
We need to empower them to know that we are not that nasty. That we care about their lives. And that it is of equal value.
Reference List :
Eighteen Chefs. (2015). Social vision. Retrieved from http://www.eighteenchefs.com/v2/index.php/about/eighteenchefs/
SCORE. (2015). Business enterprises. Retrieved from http://www.score.gov.sg/business_enterprises.html
Tai, J. (2014 , July 14 ). Better job prospects for ex offenders. Straits Times. Retrieved from http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/better-job-prospects-ex-offenders.
Zarembo, A. (2007 , January 11 ). Ex- convicts die at high rate in the first weeks out of prison. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2007-01-11/news/0701110188_1_drug-overdose-prisoners-general-population