SINGAPORE: Helping ex—offenders get back into society was one of the issues discussed at a dialogue session between a group of young adult leaders and Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing on Saturday.
The youth leaders are part of a group called INSPIRIT, which now has 150 members compared to 120 in April this year. The group brings together young adult leaders that advocate national and community issues.
The dialogue and tour of Changi Prison on Saturday gave INSPIRIT members a better understanding of the issues facing ex—offenders.
One of them is Edgar Kieu, who has been a community volunteer for the past four years.
The 27—year—old is also a dental surgeon for inmates at Changi Prison.
"Today’s tour and talk gave me a greater insight into my patients and how to understand their lives and how we can help to play a role in rehabilitating them."
Mr Chan Chun Sing said that’s the role of INSPIRIT to help youth leaders understand more about the community.
"We want to expose our young, up and coming leaders to aspects of our society that many of them may not come across on a daily basis. (This is) to help them understand some of the inner workings of our society. (And) at that same time, we also hope that they will also see some of the opportunities, to work with the prison, to rehabilitate some of our ex—offenders and also to provide them with employment opportunities."
The group wants to focus on improving ex—offenders’ lives once they leave the prison.
Mr Kieu said: "We are actually forming networks together with prisons, working together to train volunteers to help work with the family members once they come out of prisons. (This is) to create a better and more wholesome environment for both the family and the inmate once they are released."
Youth leaders said more needs to be done to change society’s impression of ex—offenders and that starts early.
The dialogue session was attended by some 60 youth leaders.
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